CRF Blog

When Should the People’s Voice Be Trusted?

by Bill Hayes

The New York Times’ Room for Debate lets various knowledgeable contributors discuss news events and other timely issues. One recent debate covered: Should governments let decisions be made by referendum?

A pact to end a 50-year war between the Colombian government and rebels was expected to have broad support. But on Sunday its ratification was narrowly defeated in a referendum in which only 40 percent of voters went to the polls. Experts said it would be disastrous if Britain left the European Union, but in a June referendum, Brexit was narrowly passed.

On issues that are vital to a nation, should governments let decisions be made by referendum? [more]