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.
Bibliographical note© 2020 Matt Qvortrup, published by Sciendo
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