Why Convene Referendums? Explaining Choices in EU Constitutional Politics
Journal of European Public Policy, Vol. 14, No. 8, pp. 1311-1332, 2007
Posted: 17 Dec 2011 Last revised: 9 Dec 2012
Date Written: 2007
Referendums are not the most common instrument of democracy in EU member states. In spite of this, the negotiation of the EU Constitution prompted a number of governmental choices of this mechanism for ratification of the new treaty and no less than ten governments announced their intention to use it. The reasons for these choices must be looked for in domestic political circumstances and, more precisely, in the non-existence of solid parliamentary majorities and disputes within the ruling parties, as well as in the perception of an electoral advantage on the part of government parties. Additionally, the force of arguments for the need to ratify a constitution by means of a referendum and the imitation of the path followed in other countries played an important part in these choices.
Keywords: EU referendums, EU constitution
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