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On 21 September 1792, at Danton's proposal, the French National Assembly declared that ‘there can be no constitution but one approved by the people’. In France, the idea of direct democracy dates back to the Revolution. However, due to the Terror and the practice under Napoleonic Empires, in which they were turned into plebiscites, referendums acquired a negative connotation. Under the Vth Republic, De Gaulle turned referendums into an instrument of personalisation and presidentialisation, and since his day, there have been few referendums staged. In 10 years of office, President Jacques Chirac only used it twice with much less success and political courage.
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