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The referendum is not a monolithic method of national decision making. There are a multitude of referendum forms which exist under varying constitutional conditions and operate in different ways.;A global comparison shows that more than half the constitutions of the world provide for the referendum at a national level, but referendums are also carried out without explicit constitutional support. Two main forms of referendum can be observed, the mandatory constitutional referendum and the policy vote.;This book argues that the referendum does not undermine representative decision making, but supplements it in various ways: the referendum is not diametrically opposed to representative government, and when properly designed and used, the institution of the referendum can enhance the legitimacy of a constitutional and political system.;This book is a comprehensive constitutional and comparative analysis of the referendum. It offers illuminating and intriguing reading for all those interested in national decision making.