LISD Commentary Examines Referendums in Scotland and Ukraine

In a new LISD commentary, "Referendum,"  Dr. Matt Qvortrup, using the forthcoming Scottish independence vote and the recent referendum in Ukraine as examples, analyzes how the referendum provides a mechanism for resolving territorial disputes through democratic means but asserts that without an agreed legal framework referendums can also exacerbate ethnic conflict. Qvortrup argues that recent events show the necessity of creating a new doctrine of self-determination referendums in international law.

About the Author:

Matt Qvortrup is Senior Lecturer at the Centre for Security and Resilience at Cranfield University. He is the author of Referendums and Ethnic Conflict (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2014). The book provides a comparative and empirical analysis of over 200 referendums held on ethnic and national issues from the French Revolution to the 2012 referendum on statehood for Puerto Rico. Drawing on political theory and descriptive case studies, Referendums and Ethnic Conflict considers the circumstances that compel politicians to resort to direct democracy, such as regime change, and the conditions that might exacerbate a violent response. 

About LISD Commentaries:

The Liechtenstein Institute on Self-Determination supports a publication program that disseminates research conducted as part of Institute projects in a variety of formats. The published output from LISD includes policy briefs, issue reports, edited volumes, and book-length policy reports that are part of the Liechtenstein Colloquium Report series. The program also supports the e-publication of "LISD commentaries," op-ed style articles that provide analysis and insights to a broad range of current events and pressing policy issues. LISD commentaries are written by LISD researchers, faculty associates, non-resident associates, and participants in LISD-sponsored lectures, panels, workshops, and colloquia.