The simplest way of ensuring that public policies match popular preferences for them – as democracy requires – is to let citizens vote directly on the relevant alternatives. The policy most favoured by the vote would then be implemented by government. This is indeed what happens in some democracies, which have referendums and popular initiatives. However, these are not generally held over the whole range of policies, nor in most democracies. More often than not, citizens are allowed policy votes only when governments decide to hold them and then only in a form which the government lays down. These restrictions are often justified by the alleged difficulties in identifying the true majority preference from a popular vote. This then supports the argument that it is better identified indirectly, through party votes in general elections and deliberation by those elected in a representative assembly (i.e. a legislature or parliament).