The Use of a Referendum During A Political Conflict: Does It Always Result To A Country’s Win?

The British parliament has been filled with drama and tension in the first few weeks of 2019, as the necessary arrangements for the impending secession of United Kingdom from the European Union, more popularly known as Brexit, must be passed at the soonest. Unfortunately for Prime Minister Theresa May, her proposed Brexit deals were largely panned by the members of the parliament, thus putting the future of the country at stake.

As the parliament struggles to come up with a plan, roughly two months before Brexit becomes official, there are now calls to involve the people in deciding the fate of the whole nation. This is where the referendum comes into the picture, but what is a referendum, and why is it needed when things go haywire in the world of politics?

What Is a Referendum?

For the majority of countries in the world, the leaders and members of the government are chosen by those countries’ electorate, or in other words, constituents. However, it is not only during election day that the electorate can have a say on political affairs. Aside from electing government officials such as the president and congress people, the electorate can also weigh in on pressing political issues. When this happens, the direct vote cast by the electorate to decide on certain political matters is called a referendum.

Notable Referendums in the Recent Years

The political turmoil in the United Kingdom actually rooted from the historic referendum on June 23, 2016, where the people themselves have decided whether the country should stay as a member of the European Union or part ways after several years. The result of the referendum led to the United Kingdom leaving EU, with a splitting 51.9% against 48.1% who voted against Brexit. More than 30 million people took part in the said referendum, which amounted to 71.8% voter’s turnout.

Colombia also caught the world’s attention when the country also held its own referendum in October 26, wherein the electorate had to decide whether to reject a peace agreement between the Colombian government and the leftist movement. The peace pact would have ended 52 years of bloody conflict in the country, but the referendum resulted to 50.2% voting against the peace deal, with only 38% voter’s turnout.

Pros and Cons of a Referendum

Whether a person denies it or not, politics has a lot of impact on the lives of everyone. A certain ruling passed or rejected could either greatly benefit or burden certain individuals or sectors of the society. For one, the construction industry can easily be affected by political matters, so it is important that these issues are settled as soon as possible before they become huge enough to become unsolvable.

A referendum can be a powerful display of democracy in a country, that the people’s voice is still heard and given utmost importance Even though people vote for leaders and representatives who will decide on matters that will affect their living, they can still have their final say on anything through a referendum.

However, a referendum can also result to divisiveness. A country will be divided into factions that constantly berate one another to the point that they can never move forward as one nation. Another tricky part when it comes to a referendum is that the electorate can be easily persuaded by some powerful entities who have their own agendas and interests to protect.

These entities can spread misinformation and perform public acts so that they could get the people’s trust and manipulate the outcome of an upcoming referendum.

People must be skeptical of every information that they will hear and see so that their political views will be impenetrable.  It is also important for the people to gather and have healthy conversations in order to come up with the right decision. Perhaps they can add more fun to their gatherings and dig this party venue orange county ca.

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