(English) The Democratic Club Position No. 63 On the Question of the Referendum Laws

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In the near future, the agenda of the Chamber of Deputies would bring the Law on General Referendum, according to which, upon request of a certain number of citizens, a referendum on selected issue should be called, whose outcome would be binding for the competent authorities. Some of the proposals set out the range of issues on which a referendum cannot be held, others require the possibility to vote without restrictions on the topics.

The Democratic Club considers that direct democracy which is realized in the form of a referendum, does not represent the improvement of the quality of democracy in comparison with representative democracy or a better implementation of the will of the people, namely for the following reasons:

  1. In a referendum is almost absent any possibility of a qualified assessment of the case, which occurs when it is dealt by discussion within representative bodies. The result can largely be decided by emotions.
  2. The result of the referendum is largely decided by the formulation of the question, which in some cases can act suggestively.
  3. A referendum allows only vote for or against, thus precluding the possibility of finding an optimal solution to the problem.
  4. Many surveys had confirmed that the referendum voter actually pronounces himself to other problems. Negative results are known, caused for example, by a general aversion to government for completely different reasons than the subject of the referendum. Thus, for example, deeper EU integration was made impossible by referendums on the constitution, which has a negative impact on the Union’s response capacity.

For these reasons, we are asking MPs not to accept the law on general referendum in any form, and also not to accept through a special law any referendum on matters that are not generally understood and for which there is little understanding of the consequences of accepting or refusing the issue in general public. We believe that the possibilities for the application of the referendum are mainly for practical problems on a local or regional level.

In Prague, 16 June 2016

For the correctness:

Ing. Jan Friedlaender, CSc.

Chairman of the Political Committee of the Democratic Club

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