Referrenda : a form of direct democracy or a tool in the hands of the government ?

Article published on Nov. 25, 2007
community published
Article published on Nov. 25, 2007
The call for a referrendum is the most common demand of many social and political groups who demand direct democracy institutions and call the people to answer in a series of issues. However there is a lot of discussion on how much representative are the results and if they express the pure will of the people.
Even thought referrenda seem to be a positive measure in order to make the system of government more direct, in my point of view referrenda can easily be manipulated from the government. The process - meaning the issue and the way it is given as a question to the people can influence the voters and and give out a result which will be in favor of those who rule. Then national referrenda in France and the Netherlands said a loud 'NO' to the European Constitutional Treaty. However, after the outcome many people and analysts supported that the people in these two countries said 'NO' not to the Treaty itself but to a series of domestic policy issues. The referrendum was for those people a chance to express their general agree or disagree over some governmential decisions and not a direct answer for the content of the Treaty. France voted NO to a possible accesion of Turkey in the EU and NO to president Chirac. The residents of the Netherlands where influenced from the french vote too. On the other hand, Spanish who voted for the Constitutional Treaty probably expressed their support to the newly elected government of Socialists if we take in mind the millions of books presenting the Treaty which were found in rubbish the day after they were given to the people. In Greece there is a proposal of referrendum over the issue of Macedonia and it was made from some political and social groups. According to their viewpoint people should answer if they accept or not a name for F.Y.R.O.M. which will include the term Macedonia. They claim that the vast majority of the greek people will not accept the term in the solution because of sentimental and historical reasons. According to my point of view this will make things worse because the result wont be a direct answer to the question of Macedonia but it will be used as a form of pressure to the Greek government for the general reforms introduced. So isn't it necessary to see how can referrenda will be made in order to express the pure will of the people?