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Thresholds in Referendums

Published Thursday, June 30, 2011

Referendums have become an established mechanism for validating constitutional initiatives in the UK. The possibility of using an appropriate minimum turnout, or a special majority to ensure that the outcome of such a poll is seen as legitimate is sometimes raised. This note looks at the debate in the UK so far and briefly looks at the use of referendum thresholds in states outside the UK.

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Referendums have become an established mechanism for validating constitutional initiatives in the UK. The possibility of using an appropriate minimum turnout, or a special majority to ensure that the outcome of such a poll is seen as legitimate is sometimes raised. This note looks at the debate in the UK so far and briefly looks at the use of referendum thresholds in states outside the UK.

Commons Briefing papers SN02809

Author: Oonagh Gay

Topics: Constitution, Elections, Regional assemblies

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