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Are discretionary referendums on EU integration becoming ‘politically obligatory’? The cases of France and the UK

Bicquelet, Aude and Addison, Helen (2018) Are discretionary referendums on EU integration becoming ‘politically obligatory’? The cases of France and the UK. Parliamentary Affairs, 71 (2). pp. 219-242. ISSN 0031-2290

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Identification Number: 10.1093/pa/gsx023

Abstract

Recent studies have suggested that governments may call referendums on matters of European Union (EU) integration because contextual circumstances make direct votes ‘politically obligatory’ as ruling politicians increasingly believe them to be the ‘appropriate’ decision-making mechanism. This study contests this claim based on the observation of two countries, France and the UK. The constitutions of both countries enshrine different, long-standing and equally legitimate interpretations of the concepts of sovereignty and political representation. Legislators draw on these conflicting interpretations to argue for either direct public ballots or parliamentary vote, and they deploy their arguments strategically to build a rhetorical case for the decision-making mechanism that suits their party’s interests. Contrary to the ‘politically obligatory referendum’ hypothesis, governments have greater freedom to choose whether and when to use referendums strategically to achieve their domestic and European policy objectives.

Item Type: Article
Official URL: https://academic.oup.com/pa
Additional Information: © 2017 The Authors
Subjects: J Political Science > JC Political theory
J Political Science > JN Political institutions (Europe)
Sets: Departments > Methodology
Date Deposited: 25 May 2018 16:04
Last Modified: 25 May 2018 16:09
URI: http://eprints.lse.ac.uk/id/eprint/88080

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