Mandate (politics)

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In politics, a mandate is the authority granted by a constituency to act as its representative.[1]

The concept of a government having a legitimate mandate to govern via the fair winning of a democratic election is a central idea of representative democracy. New governments who attempt to introduce policies that they did not make public during an election campaign are said to not have a legitimate mandate to implement such policies.

Elections, especially ones with a large margin of victory, are often said to give the newly elected government or elected official an implicit mandate to put into effect certain policies.[2] When a government seeks re-election they may introduce new policies as part of the campaign and are hoping for approval from the voters, and say they are seeking a "new mandate".

In some languages, a 'mandate' can mean a parliamentary seat won in an election rather than the electoral victory itself. In case such a mandate is bound to the wishes of the electorate, it is an imperative mandate, otherwise it is called "free".

See also

Political philosophy:

Further reading


  1. "Mandate". Free Merriam-Webster Dictionary. Retrieved 2012-04-03.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. Glossary | Elections ACT. Jul 2012. (cf., The Government's claim that once elected they have the right and responsibility to implement their policies.)
General information
  • "Doctrine of Mandate". A dictionary of political phrases and allusions: with a short bibliography By Hugh Montgomery, Philip George Cambray.