A referendum (in some countries synonymous with plebiscite — or a vote on a ballot question) is a direct vote in which an entire electorate is asked to vote on a particular proposal. This may result in the adoption of a new law.
Some definitions of ''plebiscite'' suggest that it is a type of vote to change the constitution or government of a country.〔http://www.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/english/plebiscite Definition of Plebiscite〕 Others define it as the opposite. Australia defines 'referendum' as a vote to change the constitution and 'plebiscite' as a vote that does not affect the constitution. In contrast, Ireland has only ever held one 'plebiscite' which was the vote to adopt its constitution and each other similar vote has been styled a 'referendum'.
''Referendum'' is the gerund of the Latin verb ''refero'', and has the meaning "bringing back" (i.e., bringing the question back to the people). The term ''plebiscite'' has a generally similar meaning in modern usage, and comes from the Latin ''plebiscita'', which originally meant a decree of the ''Concilium Plebis'' (Plebeian Council), the popular assembly of the Roman Republic. Today, a "referendum" can also often be referred to as a "plebiscite", but in some countries the two terms are used differently to refer to votes with differing types of legal consequences.
''Referendums'' and ''referenda'' are both commonly used as plurals of ''referendum''. However, the use of ''referenda'' is deprecated by the ''Oxford English Dictionary'', which advises that:
''Referendums'' is logically preferable as a plural form meaning ''ballots on one issue'' (as a Latin gerund, referendum has no plural). The Latin plural gerundive ''referenda'', meaning ''things to be referred'', necessarily connotes a plurality of issues.
The name and use of the "referendum" is thought to have originated in the Swiss canton of Graubünden as early as the 16th century.〔Barber, Benjamin R.. ''The Death of Communal Liberty: A History of Freedom in a Swiss Mountain Canton''. Princeton University Press, 1974, p.179.〕〔Vincent, J.M.. ''State and Federal Government in Switzerland'', Johns Hopkins University Press, 2009, p.122〕
抄文引用元・出典: フリー百科事典『 ウィキペディア（Wikipedia）』
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