The Referendum in Multi-level States: Fracturing or Fostering Federal Models of Government?

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Abstract / Description of output

This paper will categorise the proliferation of the referendum, discussing the different ways in which they have played a role in processes of state-collapse and state-restructuring in federal and other multi-level states. Is it the case that referendums act as a destabilising force in federal states by bringing to the surface the existence of multiple political communities within the state, and by giving each of these the capacity to make constitutional demands by way of a direct voting process which can also at the same time build national sentiment at the sub-state level? Certainly the referendum story of the former Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) and Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (SFRY) is one of collapse, but this is not the whole story; the referendum has also been used to build multi-level systems of government, for example, in Spain and the UK, albeit that the stability of these systems is a constant source of debate.
Original languageEnglish
PublisherFederal Idea: A Quebec Think Tank on Federalism
Commissioning bodyFederal Idea: A Quebec Think Tank on Federalism
Number of pages24
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2014

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