Plebiscites and referendums

Plebiscites and referendums are consultations with the people to decide on matters of relevance to the nation in matters of a constitutional, legislative, or administrative nature.

The main distinction between them is that the plebiscite is called prior to the creation of the legislative or administrative act that deals with the subject at hand, and the referendum is called later, and it is up to the people to ratify or reject the proposal.

Both are provided for in art. 14 of the Federal Constitution and regulated by Law No. 9,709, of November 18, 1998. This law, among other things, establishes that, in matters of national relevance and those provided for in § 3 of art. 18 of the Constitution – incorporation, subdivision or dismemberment of states – the plebiscite and referendum are called by means of a legislative decree.

In other matters, under the competence of the states, the Federal District and the municipalities, the plebiscite and the referendum will be called in accordance, respectively, with the State Constitution and with the Organic Law.