Article title Referendum as a Form of Democracy Needs to be Regulated Constitutionally
Name of magazine Legal journal «Law of Ukraine» (Ukrainian version)
Issue 6/2013
Сторінки [235-241]

The article defines the problems related to referendum as a form of government by the people as well as directions for solving them within the constitutional legislation. The priority issue of popularly initiated referendums is discussed. It is proposed that the Constitution define referendum as an instrument for exercising the sovereign's free will and rights, legitimizing governmental decisions (authorities) by way of adopting (abolishing) legislative acts or separate provisions thereof, making decisions following popular votes or renouncing decisions of state authorities; as a form of the exercising by the people — the holder of state sovereignty — of its ownership, of asserting it and defending in the event of an external or internal threat of violation of the national or state sovereignty or of the usurpation of state power; as a counterbalance and a deterrent against decisions by state authorities and their representatives which contradict the interests of Ukrainian citizens, violate their natural and constitutionally defined rights and freedoms.

There is a necessity established to unify referendum procedures for Ukrainian popularly initiated nationwide and local referenda, common principles which empower citizens to participate in state governance and management of social and political processes directly. It is affirmed that the procedure for initiating and conducting such referenda should be governed by a single legislative act for all types of popularly initiated referenda.

It is argued that there is some expediency in constitutionally classifying issues submitted for popularly initiated referenda into legislative, conciliatory and revocatory (controlling) based upon social functions and directedness of a referendum, the urgency of the underlying decision.

Keywords government by the people, constituent power, popular vote, direct democracy, popularly initiated referendums, issue for a referendum, referendum law.