Referendums as a Political Party Gamble: A Critical Analysis of the Kurdish Referendum for Independence

Dylan O'Driscoll, Bahar Baser

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    2 Citations (Scopus)
    81 Downloads (Pure)


    This article brings the case of the Kurdish referendum for independence into the wider literature on independence referendums. It examines the decision to hold an independence referendum and explores the pre-referendum conditions and the post-referendum consequences. The article argues that the referendum in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq was held due to internal political competition and party politics rather than the ripeness of the timing for independence. Theoretically, this article adds a new dimension to the scholarship on independence referendums, as it demonstrates that the purposes of independence referendums can go beyond the question put to the population – such as consolidating popular support by connecting to the population’s nationalist desires, despite independence not being a realistic prospect. Finally, it brings further support for previous findings of the importance of international support for independence referendums.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)652-666
    Number of pages15
    JournalInternational Political Science Review
    Issue number5
    Early online date29 Nov 2019
    Publication statusPublished - 2 Oct 2020

    Bibliographical note

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    • Independence Referendums
    • Kurds
    • Iraq
    • Unrecognised states
    • Nationalism
    • Secession
    • secession
    • nationalism
    • Independence referendums
    • unrecognised states

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Political Science and International Relations
    • Sociology and Political Science


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