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The General Assembly Meeting of the European Election Officials (ACEEEO), considering the high importance of national referendum as a mean of direct democracy, calls on its Members to take measures where appropriate to guarantee the implementation of the following elements regarding the legal, technical and procedural environment of nationwide referendums.

1. The General Assembly underlined that the principles of the European electoral heritage apply to referendums, but the specific aspects have to be taken into account (concerning e.g. the formal and substantive validity of the question or the campaign).

2.  Considering the high importance of general democratic criterions, human rights and the rule of law, it is essential to:

  • respect the rules on formal validity of the question put on the referendum;
  • respect the rules on substantive validity of the question put on referendum;
  • respect the rules of procedure throughout the referendum process;
  • guarantee the judicial review of the results but also of the question and of the process.
 3.  As for collecting and verifying signatures:
  • The personal data of the supporters signing the signature collection sheet shall be identified in order to check if the supporter has the right to vote.
  • The identification shall be based on and delivered by an electronic database if possible (population register or voters’ register).
 4. Regarding the rules of voter registration:
  • Using specific criteria that may differ from the requirements established for general national/local elections shall not reduce the number of voters.
  • Citizens having the right to vote on general national elections shall have the right to vote in nationwide referendums.
 5. Concerning the phrasing of the question put on referendum:
  • The question indicated on the ballot paper shall be definite and clear that can be answered with a “yes” or “no”.
  • In order to achive a clear and definite wording, the Election Commissions and legal experts shall be involved in the phrasing process and the initiators shall be encouraged to do so.
  • The final version of the question to be put on referendum shall be adopted before the commencement of the collection of signatures.
 6. Campaigning for and against the question on referendum:
  • Nationwide referendums initiated by the government shall never be supported by campaigns financed from the state budget.
  • The state budget shall cover only those expenditures emerging in connection with the conduction of the election process.

Adopted by the General Assembly Meeting of the ACEEEO’s 15th Anniversary Conference in Riga, Latvia August 31- September 2, 2006.