What is the difference between the terms "plebiscite" and "referendum"

According to Michael Sandel, a professor at Harvard University: “The dialogue that is absent in modern politics is about the role of the market and the depth of its penetration into our lives.

Do we want a market economy or a market society? What role should the market play in public life and our relationships? How can we decide which goods can be bought and sold and which should be managed from non-market value? ”

In fact, in the current context, what Prof. Michael Sandel asks is to what extent the supranational merging of markets, their acquisition of the global capacity to influence the national politics and economy of individual countries, deprives society of the most important achievements of democracy, namely statehood, which is characterized by structures that ensure its social integrity – the basis of the immune system of the state. Which is created and maintained by the policy, oriented to the welfare of the people, concern for poverty, and reduction of inequality.

Prof. Michael Sandel’s idea is not only completely relevant. The social reality in the so-called “Western democracies”, with few exceptions to some extent here and there in Northern Europe, is playing like a trumpet that the discussion about the role of the market and its penetration into our lives is urgent.

What Prof. Michael Sandel does not clarify is between whom the discussion dialogue will take place. Whether only among the minority of the segments of society that is progressively but aggressively and relentlessly striving for the global finalization of its pervasive power or will the discussion be attended by citizens who do not benefit from it, unlike its protagonists. It is a model of government.

If we add the media – the so-called “fourth power”, to the three commonly discussed areas of law enforcement: legislative, executive, and judicial, then let’s look at the possible states of these four different forms of government.

The first option for exercising legislative power is when the people are unconditionally the only legislator. When the people are sovereign, it means that only they have the inalienable right to legislative initiative and decisions. Therefore, popular sovereignty exists only where citizens, as part of the sovereign’s body, propose laws themselves and hold plebiscites in which they approve or reject them.

So, what is the difference between the terms “plebiscite” and “referendum”?

The term “plebiscite” comes from the ancient Latin words “plebs” – “mass” and “scitum” – “definition, decree, a decision”. Through the plebiscites in ancient Rome, free citizens (not women and slaves) made binding decisions of government, ie, decisions of last resort that were not subject to approval by any other state institution before being applied in practice.

This is not the case with the rules for the current referendum in our country. The term itself comes from the neo-Latin word “re-fero” – “extract”, “report”. But, as is clear, once the opinion is “extracted,” it can be thrown in the Trash of History, and the “report” can be dusted in the drawer of inaction.

But initially, to limit the field of action of the direct legislative will of the Bulgarian sovereign, the Law on Direct Participation of Citizens in State Power and Local Self-Government (ZPUG) in its Article 9, para. 2. It lists so many questions of government that is forbidden for the sovereign to express a will that it would be more appropriate to indicate the issues on which citizens can … report their opinion. To whom?

To their superiors, who are currently usurping de facto uncontrollable power. Since, in addition to many issues of paramount state importance, the sovereign has been denied the right to make decisions, there are other obstacles to the possibility of the referendum becoming a plebiscite, ie his decision is mandatory.

First, the number of voters during the referendum needs to exceed the total number of voters in the last previous elections to the National Assembly. And secondly, there is another mine for which the constitutionalists, as belonging to the reservoir for staffing the ruling minorities (relative to the total number of all citizens), do not raise a voice for a legally justified protest – the fact that the issue must be formulated in this way, that it constitutes a proposal for approval (or rejection of a fully defined law). Otherwise, the mine explodes and the people’s will is torn to pieces.

The second possible state of the legislative system is when the people grant legislative power to others and only for a certain period, during which they do not give up their right to legislative initiative and decisions, and can directly or indirectly control the work of the legislature through a veto.

This option for government throughout the so-called “transition” after November 10, 1989, the Bulgarian adult population looks through a crooked macaroni.

The third, catastrophic option for the spiritual and material interests of the people is when the sovereign transfers legislative power for a certain period, during which he is deprived of legislative initiative (according to the unwritten constitution and not according to the exemplary written basic law). has given up control.

Then comes the riskiest – and as history shows – tragic period for the sovereign, ie for the people, because he has entrusted to others power uncontrollably and indefinitely. And most importantly – irrevocably until the expiration of the term.

This in turn leads to an aggressive usurpation of power during the period during which the legislature, which is (in the sense of the sovereignty of the people), an instrument of the sovereign to carry out government, is replaced by a sovereign. On the other hand, the true sovereign is placed in the position of an object of “command” and … repression, if he does not listen.

What are the options for exercising executive power?

Where the sovereign does not directly exercise executive power, he should be appointed directly by him. This happens when those persons who will exercise executive power are elected directly by the sovereign, and the state of the state administration is based on written rules set by the sovereign, and only he has the right to change them, as well as ” repairs the executive branch whenever it wishes.

The judiciary, on the other hand, needs to meet the extremely important condition of being neutral, ie devoid of bias. When sovereignty is unconditional, the sovereign administers justice himself.

The other possible situation is when the sovereign entrusts the administration of justice to someone else or gives someone the right to form the judiciary, ie to appoint judges to judge on behalf of the sovereign. Then there are two options: the sovereign has the right to withdraw the voted powers under a certain procedure, or he has waived this right.

Then the average chance of an ordinary citizen receiving justice in the Temple of Themis is less than hitting the jackpot numbers in the lottery.

What is the Summa summarum, ie the conclusion, as the ancient Romans said?

The effective mechanism for counteracting the abuse of power by the ruling minorities is the continuous control of the citizens in the space-time continuum, with the potential to impose various sanctions, including a recall from office.

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