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A process of a participatory democracy that empowers the people to propose legislation and to enact or reject the laws at the polls independent of the lawmaking power of the governing body.

The purpose of an initiative, which is a type of election commenced and carried out by the people, is to permit the electorate to resolve questions where their elected representatives fail to do so or refuse to proceed with a change that the public desires.

West's Encyclopedia of American Law, edition 2. Copyright 2008 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.

INITIATIVE, French law. The name given to the important prerogative given by the charte constitutionelle, art. 16, to the late king to propose through his ministers projects of laws. 1 Toull. n. 39. See Veto.

A Law Dictionary, Adapted to the Constitution and Laws of the United States. By John Bouvier. Published 1856.
References in periodicals archive ?
To prevent oil extraction in Yasuni, environmental groups and the indigenous movement have called for a popular referendum. They propose an indefinite ban on drilling in the ITT.
Similarly, although progress can be seen in the adoption of a constitution by popular referendum, the process was controversial, heavily criticised by the opposition and led to a "deeply divisive political crisis".
The opposition had called for submitting the results of the dialogue to a popular referendum for endorsement instead of referring them to the parliament.
But last month, Cairo postponed formal conclusion of the deal because of new political confrontations and street protests ignited by Mursi's drive to fast-track a new, Islamist-oriented constitution that was approved in a popular referendum.
The constitution was approved in a popular referendum and signed into law on Dec.
The new draft charter, approved by an Islamist-dominated panel, boycotted by liberals and Christians and objected to by the opposition on the grounds that it limits freedom of expression, women's rights and freedom of worship, is set for a popular referendum on 15 December, the report said.
Pablo Abdala of the National Party told Uruguayan media outlets he would push for a popular referendum on the issue if Mujica does not veto the bill.
Fatah spokesman Ahmad Assaf said the party had won a "victory" throughout the West Bank, in what he described as "a major popular referendum on the movement's political programme and its national performance," a statement said.
German Minister of Foreign Affairs Guido Westerwelle has spoken up in support of an EU Constitution to be adopted via popular referendum.
"The People's Assembly is elected by popular will, and therefore, it can be dissolved only by a constitutional basis and after a popular referendum," said Mr.
The newly elected parliament will then appoint an interim government and a constituent authority to draft a new Libyan constitution to be approved by popular referendum.
Discussing Article 3 of the draft law, several members stressed the need to submit the draft constitution to a popular referendum, regardless of the mode of its adoption by the NCA.