What is a referendum:

Referendums are a public voting system through which the whole electorate participates in decision making on a particular policy through voting.

Advantages of referendums:

  • It can be said that referendums are a direct form of democracy. As the people directly participate in the decision making, avoiding any manipulation by their representatives.
  • It can educate citizens politically.
  • It forces governments to do what the people actually want.
  • The common man has a say in the policy making as he will be the one living under the new set of rules, he will be the one who will be most affected. So, at times the priorities of people are different from the priorities of the government, referendums can set things straight.

Disadvantages of referendums:

  • Referendums at times can lead to ill-informed decisions. Since the general public is politically inexperienced, they may not be able to gauge the long-term implications of their decisions.
  • It weakens the sovereignty of the parliament, where the decisions are made with thorough discussions and debate among the chosen representatives.
  • Provides an unreliable view, as the general public may have less knowledge about certain issues so they can be swayed in any direction by the politicians through aggressive speeches, false data etc. And the lack of knowledge will leave no other choice for the people than to believe those facts.


Though referendums can be referred to as the direct form of democracy, but it generally lacks knowledge and experience. For instance, it takes the opinion of a doctor on an issue related to foreign affairs or economics, which definitely will be ill-informed. It may strengthen democracy but may weaken the country.

Also Read :  Coalition politics in India

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  • Rajesh Kumar, Jan 25, 2020 @ 4:15 pm Reply

    Yes it is right, all the the people doesn’t have knowledge about politics, but are voting based on facts and illusions created by media..
    It depends on individual interest to what to learn or know..
    Referendums are just the way of knowing people decision..
    To well utilize the referendum people should be given information of individual electorate performance details and his activity, education, background, achievement done .. before using these referendums..

  • Tinku Paul, Jul 5, 2019 @ 7:05 am Reply

    According to me referendum means public voting system, through which people participate whole electorate and can make decision through voting. Referendums are a direct form of democracy and avoiding any manipulation to select their representative. People can understand in politics from news paper and TV channels. Sometimes forces the government that people actually what they want. But sometimes people take wrong decision it is ill informed .It is may be strengthen democracy but may weaker the country.

  • Amjith, Jun 28, 2019 @ 12:20 am Reply

    Referendums other than in elections shouldnt be entertained, it will only lead to ill decesions. People with vested interest is more likely to participate in the referendum.But in case of elections, i feel its the best practice, and it also ensures equality to everyone.

    • Team GD Ideas, Jul 3, 2019 @ 8:51 am Reply

      Yes! vested interests can manipulate people.

  • RAKESH GOSWAMI, Jun 27, 2019 @ 9:30 am Reply

    If firstly people are make aware of a topic, through a common public portal by expert, on which general public have to cast thier vote, then it may be possible.

    • Team GD Ideas, Jul 3, 2019 @ 8:49 am Reply

      That’s right. Then, people can take well-informed decisions.

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