Policy Agenda and Legitimation: Referendums on Interethnic Relations in Central and Eastern Europe
Forthcoming in Nationalism and Ethnic Politics (2018)
23 Pages Posted: 29 Jun 2018
Date Written: 2018
The increasing use of referendums in contemporary societies raises several questions about their emergence. Among these, it is unclear why controversial and sensitive issues are subjected to popular vote. So far, limited research investigated why referendums on interethnic relations are initiated. This article seeks to address this gap in the literature and analyzes these reasons by focusing on all five referendums called on interethnic relations in Central and Eastern Europe. These referendums are those organized in Estonia (1992), Latvia (1998 and 2012), Hungary (2004) and Slovenia (2004). The findings of our qualitative analysis reveals that the initiators were driven either by agenda-setting or policy legitimation incentives.
Keywords: ethnonational referendums, political elites, policy agenda, legitimation
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