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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. Also, the period during which a government serves between elections is often referred to as a mandate and when the government seeks re-election it is said to be seeking a "new mandate".
In some languages, a 'mandate' can mean a parliamentary seat won in an election rather than the electoral victory itself.
See also 
Further reading 
- Presidential Mandates: How Elections Shape the National Agenda. Patricia Heidotting Conley. University of Chicago Press, 2001.
- General information
- "Doctrine of Mandate". A dictionary of political phrases and allusions: with a short bibliography By Hugh Montgomery, Philip George Cambray.
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