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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.

See: initial, original, overture, preparatory, rudimentary

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.

References in periodicals archive ?
And in Maryland and Washington, where legislatures recently legalized same-sex marriage, popular referendums are on the ballot to overturn those laws.
France's modern political structure was established in 1958 by popular referendum.
South Dakota has the popular referendum, which is a petition based referendum that allowed them to stop the abortion ban until voters make the final decision in the next election.
It also anticipated and regulated the drafting of a new Constitution by the National Assembly to be ratified by a popular referendum (Art.
We're told it would take a supermajority of the board of directors (eight votes) to overturn the current prohibition against the project or a general election initiated by six yea votes by the city board or a popular referendum.
There are two basic processes in the United States that organizers can use to put a public-policy question directly before the voters--either the initiative or the popular referendum process.
Further trouble lay ahead, for it had been decided that a premio popolare of 1,000 lire, about 40 [pounds sterling] at the rate of exchange at that time, was to go to the artist whose work was judged best by popular referendum.
The state of Oregon has changed from being one of the easier initiative and popular referendum states to one of the more difficult states," said Waters, director of the Virginia-based Initiative & Referendum Institute.
The Zurich registrations are the first in the world to be hacked by a popular referendum.
India refuses to consider Kashmir disputed territory, while Pakistan insists that the sovereignty of the entire Kashmir region is in dispute and should be subjected to a popular referendum on its future.
Then, in the wake of Japan's Fukushima accident, former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi was forced by a popular referendum to accept the rejection of his nuclear power plans.
The second would see a popular referendum being held to know who among the presidential candidates enjoys the most support.