/pleb"euh suyt', -sit/, n.1. a direct vote of the qualified voters of a state in regard to some important public question.2. the vote by which the people of a political unit determine autonomy or affiliation with another country.[1525-35; < F < L plebiscitum decree of the plebs, equiv. to plebi (for plebis, plebei gen. sing. of plebs, plebes PLEBS) + scitum resolution, decree, n. use of neut. of scitus, ptp. of sciscere to enact, decree, orig., to seek to know, learn, inchoative of scire to know]
* * *Vote by the people of an entire country or district to decide an issue.Voters are asked to accept or reject a given proposal rather than choose between alternative proposals. By means of plebiscites, intermediaries such as political parties can be bypassed. Because plebiscites offer a way to claim a popular mandate without permitting an opposition party, totalitarian regimes have used them to legitimize their power. See also referendum and initiative.
* * *▪ politicsa vote by the people of an entire country or district to decide on some issue, such as choice of a ruler or government, option for independence or annexation by another power, or a question of national policy.In a plebiscite, voters are asked not to choose between alternate regimes or proposals but to confirm or reject the legitimacy of a certain form of government or course of action. Plebiscites are seen as a way for a government to go directly to the people, bypassing intermediaries such as political parties. After the Revolution of 1789, the plebiscite was popular in France because it was seen as an expression of popular sovereignty. In 1804, a plebiscite made Napoleon emperor.Plebiscites have been used to establish political boundaries when it is a question of nationality. For example, in 1935, the Saar (Saarland) chose to remain part of Germany rather than become part of France.Because a plebiscite offers a way of claiming a popular mandate without officially sanctioning an opposition party, totalitarian regimes also use them to legitimize their power.
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