Short Paragraphs on Referendum

Referendum means seeking public opinion on any law or amendment of the Constitution.

Two types of referendum are there in Switzerland Optional and Compulsory. In case, the Federal Assembly intends to amend the Constitution, referendum becomes compulsory.


If the majority of the people and the States (Cantons) give their consent, it will be considered as amendment to the Constitution. Besides, the laws which are not declared as urgent by the Federal Assembly, the demand for referendum can be put forward by 30,000 citizens or eight Cantons.

The demand for referendum can be put forward for the treaties with duration of fifteen years or for an unlimited period. It will be enforced only after the majority of the Cantons and the people have given their consent.

Besides in Switzerland, the system of referendum is also in vogue in many other countries. According to Article 96 of the modern Constitution of Japan, the Parliament is empowered to propose amendment to the Constitution by a majority vote and then it is put to referendum.

If majority votes are in favour of the amendment, the King will announce the amendment in the name of the people. Article 11 of the French Constitution says that if the executive or both the Houses request the President by a resolution for referendum on any public Bill or treaty, the President can put that Bill or treaty to referendum.


Article 49 of Swedish Constitution provides that the Parliament and the King can make a law for putting any Bill to referendum. Article 75 of the Constitution of Italy provides that if five lakh voters or at least five Regional Councils demand a complete or partial repealing of any Act, that Act can be put to referendum. There can be no referendum for international treaties, budget and laws relating to pardon.

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