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All You Need to Know About Referendums

  • Date Submitted: 10/27/2011 05:38 AM
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(5) What is a referendum?

Referendum – is a vote in which the electorate decides an issue by answering ‘yes’ or ‘no’ to a question. Certain issues are so important that they cannot be left to elected politicians. This element of direct democracy is believed to be 'reconnecting' ordinary people with politics. Having actively participated in a referendum, people will take far more notice of the real issues at election time. Three are three types of referendums: advisory, binding and initiatives. Referendums that were already held in the UK are:
Northern Ireland, 1973. This referendum was called in the hope of finding a solution to the growing violence in Northern Ireland.
Membership of the EU, 1975. Leading a government badly divided over membership of the EU.
Devolution for Scotland and Wales, 1979. Partly as the price for keeping the Liberals' support for his minority Labour government, prime minister James Callaghan agreed to have a referendum in Scotland and Wales (the English were not consulted) on whether there should be devolution for Scotland and Wales.
Devolution for Scotland and Wales, 1997. Voters in Scotland were asked two questions. The first was whether they wanted a Scottish Parliament and the second was whether they wanted the Scottish Parliament to have tax-varying powers.
Northern Ireland, 1998. This had two purposes: first, to get support for the Northern Ireland peace process; and second, to get endorsement for devolved powers to Northern Ireland and end the direct rule of Northern Ireland from London.
The mayor of London, 1998. This referendum asked the people of London if they wanted an elected mayor with powers to deal with certain aspects of London as a whole, such as transport.
Recent referendum on Devolution for South East 2004
Future referendums on the single European currency Euro and EU Constitution

(5)(10) How do referendums differ from elections?

Referendum – is a vote in which the electorate decides an issue by...

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