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.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise.
For the full entry on plebiscite, visit Britannica.com.
Seen & Heard
What made you look up plebiscite? Please tell us what you were reading, watching or discussing that led you here.