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 not to 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. 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".
- Heidotting Conley, Patricia (2001). Presidential Mandates: How Elections Shape the National Agenda. University of Chicago Press.
- General information
- "Doctrine of Mandate". A dictionary of political phrases and allusions: with a short bibliography By Hugh Montgomery, Philip George Cambray.