New development: The comparative study of secession referendums
Public Money & Management, 2014, vol. 34, issue 2, 153-156
There have been 50 referendums on independence since the Second World War. Most were held in the 1990s when the international community required that the independence of new states in former communist countries were ratified by referendums. Most referendums on independence have been held in developing countries or in areas with limited experiences of democratic governance. Apart from the 2006 referendum in Montenegro, all referendums in developed capitalist democracies have resulted in defeat. Winning a referendum on independence in Scotland will be a tall order. However, as other referendums show, charismatic leaders such as de Gaulle in France and British prime minister Tony Blair in Northern Ireland have on rare occasions overcome obstacles and won referendums on nationalist issues although the polls were initially against them.
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