59

By way of establishing some context, it's worth noting that this isn't just a squabble over which government has the authority to hold a referendum in Catalonia. The Madrid government's position is that not even it can grant independence, because the constitution directly prohibits it. Moreover, to amend the relevant article of the constitution would require ...


41

Nothing (Legally) Regardless of the circumstances of the referendum, the (legal) basis for Brexit is the European Union (Notification of Withdrawal) Act 2017. I will add it in its full form so we can discuss all of the intricate details: Preamble An Act to confer power on the Prime Minister to notify, under Article 50(2) of the Treaty on European Union, ...


41

The United States does have referendums at the state level and all 50 states have some power of referendum offered to the people (the most common being legislature prescribed referendums to the people of general laws, which all states have. Constitutional Amendments done in such fashion exist in every state but Delaware). Wikipedia lists the United States ...


38

According to The Guardian, the referendum is not legally binding, and the final decision lies with Parliament.


38

It seems bleedingly obvious that having Catalonia and the rest of Spain vote differently on this issue would leave everybody with bad feelings. Nothing would be settled. And organising a referendum is precisely risking such an outcome, not as a mere possibility or in an opinion poll but in an officially sanctioned vote. Once you have an actual vote for ...


37

They can do it right away if they have the majority vote. However, it will take some time to do so, even if the UK gets fast-tracked. It may help that most standards, laws etc are already in place. Also the UK may not get conditions of membership as good as when they had before leaving, and may be required to participate in the Schengen visa scheme and the ...


32

The thing is: It does not matter what a government or a law says or pretend to say. If you look at the history, an absolute minority of independencies were "allowed" or "negotiated" between the parties (Czech Republic and Slovakia a rare instance), most are results of violent conflicts (Abkhazia, Ex-Yugoslavia, Crimea) or triggered a wave of violence (India/...


30

What has changed lately to increase their desire to be independent? This isn't actually how separatism works. It's not that they want independence now more than they did, say, fifty years ago. It's that they think they can get independence now. Fifty years ago, they would have faced suppression by the military. The rest of Europe would have had ...


18

First of all, Catalonians won't see that as legitimate. It's like having other people vote for what I should make myself for dinner -- even if everyone else is saying I should have salmon, if I want a hamburger and I'm the only vote in favour of it, I'm still making a damn hamburger. There is no legitimacy in other people telling me what I should do. Second,...


18

The voting threshold necessary to prompt the exit process was never actually decided at all as such prior to the referendum, but assumptions were made by politicians and journalists about what would be politically acceptable to an emergent notion of popular sovereignty. The law establishing the referendum did not specify any resulting action or level of ...


17

The UK has a political history and tradition which has enshrined the concept of parliamentary sovereignty to almost religious levels. Among other concepts this enshrines the view that there is no binding method for one sitting Parliament to bind a future Parliament irrevocably to a decision, and these decisions are made by simple majority of those MPs ...


16

Will the British Parliament prevent "Brexit"? No, they likely won't. With the parliament's consent to trigger Article 50, it will allow the parliament to judge if Britain is ready to start negotiations. There have been articles written recently about this, like this one from The Independent: Many would likely see this a breach of democratic trust and ...


16

Ask 100 different leave votes (even leaving out remain) what they wanted from Brexit and you'll get 100 different answers. This underlines the folly of using Referenda for complex decisions as was highlighted by Ken Clarke before the Brexit vote. Politics Home “Referendums have never settled anything. Unless they're backed by a powerful dictator in the ...


15

There is no provision in the Sino-British Joint Declaration for an independence referendum. Indeed it explicitly states "The Hong Kong Special Administrative Region will be directly under the authority of the Central People's Government of the People's Republic of China". There is no constitutional way for Hong Kong to become independent (except through ...


14

The referendum seems to be unconstitutional. The relevant legal source appear to be article 72 and 73 of the Ukranian constitution. Article 73 states that any decisions on the territory of Ukraine must be resolved by an "All-Ukrainian referendum". Article 72 states that this type of referendum needs to be requested by at least three million citizens, "...


13

The referendum was conducted under the terms of the Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Act 2000, somewhat modified by the Political Parties and Elections Act 2009. On a quick reading, the most relevant part appears to be 118 Special restrictions on referendum expenses by permitted participants. (2)Where any referendum expenses are incurred ...


13

Very few people voted for "leave" or "remain" per se. Instead, there are goals that they believed would be achieved by leaving the EU or by remaining in the EU, they thought about which goals were most important to them, and voted to achieve their most important goals. There are two problems: One, the consequences of leaving were not completely understood. ...


12

I suppose the answer to the question is that David Cameron, the PM who campaigned on a manifesto calling for an EU referendum by 2017, was confident enough that remain would win. As such, he went for the referendum without bothering with a supermajority. A mistake: a close result on a critical issue on a simple majority was always going to be divisive.


12

A referendum is never binding. It never has to be re-run. A bill creating a referendum may have clauses that are intended to make the result binding. An example of which was the AV referendum, in which a condition of the bill, as introduced by the coalition, was to make the result binding. The reason for this was that the major party in the coalition was ...


11

The High Court judgement definitely stirs things up. The UK Government has said it will appeal to the Supreme Court and it appears that the key question is about the notion of irreversibility. The thinking being that invoking Article 50 is an irrevocable action and so Parliament must speak on it. It is entirely possible that the Supreme Court would push ...


11

There's one problem with any referendum with more than two options: Arrow's Impossibility Theorem. This states that if you have three or more options, then the following cannot be simultaneously satisfied: If every voter prefers alternative X over alternative Y, then the group prefers X over Y. If every voter's preference between X and Y remains unchanged, ...


10

It is only the UK that is holding a referendum on leaving the EU. The reason is largely party political. For a number of years there has been a divide in the Conservative party between a Eurosceptic wing and a pro/neutral wing. Over a similar period there has been a significant rise in support for UKIP, the UK Independence Party, whose platform is centred ...


10

The reason that Greenland could withdraw from the EEC is that it is an autonomous country within the Danish Kingdom. The City of London is a subsidiary jurisdiction within England, just as any city within the country. As a result it cannot make independent political arrangements with outside powers. City of London Governance The City of London is a city ...


10

A number of examples are given at Wikipedia. A somewhat recent example is the Quebec independence referendum of 1995. Independence was rejected by a narrow margin, with 50.58% voting against. Quoting from the Wikipedia article: The day after the referendum, Jacques Parizeau resigned as the leader of the Parti Québécois, as he had said he would do in an ...


10

Who are these people? Which demographics vote like that? Me for one. But more generally, many people under fifty see marijuana as easily available and find it silly for it to be illegal. Illegal marijuana makes criminals of many regular people who commit no other crimes. Also, legal marijuana produces tax revenue. And because drug dealers are ...


10

As a scientist I cannot explain the reasons in political words, but anyway I will try to give the main reasons which explain the increase of the "independentism" in Catalonia. First of all, I will ignore the historical reasons of the Catalan nationalism and I'll try to only consider the the facts of the last years: First of all let's check the autonomic ...


10

First, holding a second referendum for Leave/Remain would be a clear denial of democratic choice and a bad signal for future referendums: Once the majority has chosen, everybody will suffer the consequences. That means that everyone has the same interest: working so the consequences of this choice will be the best for everyone. If we could vote again each ...


10

The difference between such one-off referendums and general elections is that everyone knows the general election results are only 'used' for the next term. Indeed, when you vote for a politician in a general election (assuming this takes place in a stable democracy) you know you will get another vote in a certain number of years time. The difference with ...


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