Referendums, democracy and separatism

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There have been referendums on separatism for longer than there has been democracy. Allowing areas to vote on independence or on whether to belong to another state or territory is a practice that goes back as far as the 14th century, though it is only in the 20th century that it really took off. While many claim a right to self-determination ', there is no formal legal right to hold referendums on secession, unless there are constitutional provisions for this, a specific agreement between the parties, or if the country is a former colony. Of the referendums on independence that have been held, very few have yielded yes' votes in developed democratic societies.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-13
Number of pages13
JournalReview of Nationalities
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 21 May 2021

Bibliographical note

© 2020 Matt Qvortrup, published by Sciendo
This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.


  • referendums
  • nationalism
  • secession
  • independence
  • democracy
  • Caledonia


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