Local referendum

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LOCAL REFERENDUM – one of two forms (in addition to local-government elections) of direct exercise of power by the local community. Legal definition of l.r. is: answering the official questionnaire or choosing from the suggested answers. Through l.r. the residents may decide about matters relating to a given local-government community (→ local community) and within its statutory competence. L.r. can be held at every level of local-government units – municipality, county or self-government voivodship (in the latter case the proper name should be a regional referendum). The l.r. can be obligatory or optional. In the first case, the referendum and its binding nature depend on the decision of the local community concerned, including: dismissal of the village mayor/mayor/president of the city before the end of the term; dismissal of the municipal council, the county council, the voivodship sejmik before the end of the term, and self-taxation of residents for public purposes. The l.r. can be held also in other cases, falling within the competence of local government. L.r. is held at the initiative of the decision-making body or by the will of the residents – the application must be submitted by at least 10% of the eligible residents of the municipality or county (in case of the municipal or county referendum initiative respectively), and in the case of self-government voivodship - at least 5% of eligible residents. The l.r. is ordered by the decision-making body on a non-working day. For the l.r. to have a binding nature, at least 30% of eligible voters have to participate, and in the case of the so-called appeal referendums – participation of at least 3/5 of the number of those who took part in the election of the body being dismissed. The law provides for time limits for conducting appeal referenda: they cannot be held within 12 months of the date of the election or the date of the last appeal referendum; they cannot be held if the date of the early election would be within six months before the end of the term of office of the local government [ J. Wojnicki ].

Literature: D. Dąbkowski, W. Zając, Referendum lokalne: praktyczny komentarz do ustawy [Local referendum: practical commentary on the act], Zielona Góra 2002 ■ E. Olejniczak-Szałowska, Referendum lokalne w świetle ustawodawstwa polskiego [Local referendum in the light of Polish legislation], Warszawa 2002 ■ A.K. Piasecki, Referenda w III RP [Referenda in the Third Republic of Poland], Warszawa 2005.