Independence referendum

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An independence referendum is a type of referendum in which the citizens of a territory decide whether the territory should become an independent country. The independence referendum is considered successful if the citizens vote in favour of independence or unsuccessful if they do not. A successful independence referendum may or may not result in independence, depending on whether relevant political factors outside of the territory recognise the results.

The articles on specific referendums are linked with dates in the table on past referendums.

Past referendums[edit]

Proposed state Date Former state Majority for independence Independence Recognition Notes
 Liberia 1846  United States Yes Yes Yes
Maryland 1853  United States Yes Yes Yes
 Norway 1905 Sweden and Norway Yes Yes Yes
 Western Australia 1933  Australia Yes No No The result was ignored by the British Parliament
 Iceland 1944  Denmark Yes Yes Yes
 Cambodia 1945  France Yes Yes Yes
 Mongolia 1945  Republic of China Yes Yes Yes
 Saar 1955  France No No Yes
 Faroe Islands 1946  Denmark Yes No No The Declaration of Independence was annulled by Denmark
 Guinea 1958  France Yes Yes Yes The question asked was whether Guinea wanted to join the French Community; the failure of the referendum led to independence
 Samoa 1961  New Zealand Yes Yes Yes
 Algeria 1962  France Yes Yes Yes
 Malta 1964  United Kingdom Yes Yes Yes
 Rhodesia 1964  United Kingdom Yes Yes No
 Cook Islands 1965  New Zealand Yes
(status unclear)
Yes Yes The Cook Islands became an associated state of New Zealand.
 Puerto Rico 1967  United States No No Yes
 West Papua 1969  Indonesia No No Yes The question asked was whether West Papua wanted to give up its sovereignty to Indonesia, with an alleged majority yes.
 Bahrain 1970  United Kingdom Yes Yes Yes The question was whether Bahrainis preferred annexation by Iran or independence.
 Northern Ireland 1973  United Kingdom No No Yes The referendum was boycotted by Republicans
 Niue 1974  New Zealand Yes
(status unclear)
Yes Yes Niue became an associated state of New Zealand.
 Aruba 1977  Netherlands Yes No Yes Plans for full independence were scrapped in 1994
 Djibouti 1977  France Yes Yes Yes
 Quebec 1980  Canada No No Yes
 Micronesia 1983  United States Yes Yes Yes Micronesia became an associated state of the United States
 New Caledonia 1987  France No No Yes
 Slovenia 1990  Yugoslavia Yes Yes Yes
 Armenia 1991  Soviet Union Yes Yes Yes
 Azerbaijan 1991  Soviet Union Yes Yes Yes
 Croatia 1991  Yugoslavia Yes Yes Yes
 Estonia 1991  Soviet Union Yes Yes Yes
 Georgia 1991  Soviet Union Yes Yes Yes
Kosova 1991  Yugoslavia Yes No No
 Latvia 1991  Soviet Union Yes Yes Yes
 Lithuania 1991  Soviet Union Yes Yes Yes
 Macedonia 1991  Yugoslavia Yes Yes Yes Independence was achieved in 1993.
 Nagorno-Karabakh 1991  Azerbaijan Yes Yes No Led to de facto independence
 Ukraine 1991  Soviet Union Yes Yes Yes
 Transnistria 1991  Moldova Yes Yes No Led to de facto independence
 Turkmenistan 1991  Soviet Union Yes Yes Yes
 Uzbekistan 1991  Soviet Union Yes Yes Yes
 Bosnia and Herzegovina 1992  Yugoslavia Yes Yes Yes
 Montenegro 1992  Yugoslavia No No Yes
 South Ossetia 1992  Georgia Yes Yes No Led to de facto independence
 Eritrea 1993  Ethiopia Yes Yes Yes
 Curaçao 1993  Netherlands No No Yes
 Puerto Rico 1993  United States No No Yes
 Moldova 1994 N/A Yes Yes Yes The issue was whether Moldova should retain its independent status
 Sint Maarten 1994  Netherlands No No Yes
 Bermuda 1995  United Kingdom No No Yes
 Quebec 1995  Canada No No Yes Results ; Yes : 49.42 No : 50.58
 Nevis 1998  Saint Kitts and Nevis Yes No Yes 62% of voters approved of independence, but a 2/3 majority was required.
 Puerto Rico 1998  United States No No Yes
 East Timor 1999  Indonesia Yes Yes Yes The referendum was organised by the  United Nations; independence was achieved in 2002
 Kurdistan 2005  Iraq Yes No No
 Montenegro 2006  Serbia and Montenegro Yes Yes Yes
 South Ossetia 2006  Georgia Yes Yes No The issue was whether South Ossetia should retain its de facto independent status
 Transnistria 2006  Moldova Yes Yes No The issue was whether Transnistria should retain its de facto independent status
 Tokelau 2006  New Zealand Yes No Yes 60% of voters approved of independence, but a 2/3 majority was required.
 Tokelau 2007  New Zealand Yes No Yes 64% of voters approved of independence, but a 2/3 majority was required.
 Basque Country 2008  Spain N/A No No Prevented by Spain
 Greenland 2008  Denmark Yes No Yes The referendum was non-binding and led to a debate on the issue of Greenlandic self-government.
 Tamil Eelam 2009–2010  Sri Lanka Yes No No Referendums were held in Sri Lankan Tamil diaspora communities
 South Sudan 2011  Sudan Yes[1] Yes Yes
 Puerto Rico 2012  United States No No Yes
 Crimea
 Sevastopol
2014  Ukraine Yes Yes No Led to the annexation of Crimea by the Russian Federation
Donetsk People's Republic Donetsk 2014  Ukraine Yes[2] Yes[3] No The issue was whether the Donetsk People's Republic should retain its de facto independent status. Only a portion of this territory can be considered independent.
Lugansk People's Republic Lugansk 2014  Ukraine Yes[2] Yes[3] No The issue was whether the Lugansk People's Republic should retain its de facto independent status. Only a portion of this territory can be considered independent.
 Veneto 2014  Italy Yes No No
 Scotland 2014  United Kingdom No No Yes
 Catalonia 2014  Spain Yes No No

Expected independence referendums[edit]

Proposed state Date Current state Recognition Notes
Iraqi Kurdistan Late 2014[4][5]  Iraq No See Iraqi Kurdistan independence referendum
 New Caledonia Between 2014 and 2018  France Yes See Nouméa Accord
 Bougainville Between 2015 and 2020[6]  Papua New Guinea Yes

Plausible independence referendums[edit]

Proposed state Proposed date Current state Information
Ambazonia TBD  Cameroon With the ruling by the African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights in 2009, Southern Cameroons is recognised as a distinct people "automatically entitled to all the other rights which are built into Article 20 (1-2) of the African Charter, which include the inalienable and unquestionable right to self-determination".[7]
 Anguilla TBD  United Kingdom The Prime Minister has expressed a desire for independence from the United Kingdom.[8]
 Faroe Islands 2015  Denmark An independence referendum could be held after the current Unionist government holds elections sometime in 2015.[citation needed]
 Greenland 2021  Denmark The Inuit Ataqatigiit-led separatist government has repeatedly expressed the need for full political independence from Denmark. With Greenland having gained more autonomy beginning with the home rule referendum in 1979 and the self-government referendum in 2008, some campaigners have touted the year 2021 (the 300th anniversary of Danish colonial rule) as a date for potential independence.[9]
 Veneto TBD  Italy Venetian Independence and other alike groups have been long proposing a referendum on the independence of Veneto from Italy. After the Regional Council of Veneto approved a resolution on self-determination (with an explicit reference to a referendum) in November 2012,[10][11] a referendum bill was proposed in April 2013.[12] In the meantime, Plebiscite 2013 (a non-partisan committee, formed mainly by former members of Venetian Independence) organised an online referendum, with no official government recognition, for 16–21 March 2014.[13][14][15] According to the organisers, turnout was 63.2% and 89.1% of participants voted yes.[16][17] This was enough for Plebiscite 2013 to declare Veneto's independence.[18][19][20][21] In June the Regional Council finally discussed and passed a law concerning a referendum on special autonomy for Veneto and another in order to hold a referendum on the independence of Veneto.[22] See also Venetian nationalism#Recent developments.
 Scotland TBD  United Kingdom Scotland may ask a new independence referendum in case the United Kingdom leaves the European Union[23] or its demands for more autonomy will be neglected. According to an opinion poll, almost half of Scottish voters back a re-run of the 2014 independence referendum by 2024.[24][25]

References[edit]

  1. ^ South Sudan backs independence – results
  2. ^ a b "In eastern Ukraine, polls close amid allegations of double-voting - CNN.com". CNN. 11 May 2014. Retrieved 30 September 2014. 
  3. ^ a b "Russia Praises Ukraine's Autonomy Law for Rebel Areas". WSJ. 17 September 2014. Retrieved 30 September 2014. 
  4. ^ "Iraq: Kurdish president proposes independence referendum". the Guardian. Retrieved 30 September 2014. 
  5. ^ AFP (07/03), Irak : le président de la région du Kurdistan demande un référendum d'indépendance  Check date values in: |date= (help)
  6. ^ "Bougainville confirms independence referendum before 2020 - Pacific Beat". Retrieved 30 September 2014. 
  7. ^ http://www.southerncameroonsig.org/2009/12/press-release-and-christmas-message-from-scapo-to-the-people-of-the-southern-cameroons.html#more
  8. ^ Overseas Review. "Overseas Territories Review". Retrieved 30 September 2014. 
  9. ^ McSmith, Andy (27 November 2008). "The Big Question: Is Greenland ready for independence, and what would it mean for its people?". The Independent. 
  10. ^ "Consiglio Regionale Veneto - Sala stampa". Retrieved 30 September 2014. 
  11. ^ "Consiglio Regionale Veneto - Progetti di legge e proposte". Retrieved 30 September 2014. 
  12. ^ "Consiglio Regionale Veneto - Sala stampa". Retrieved 30 September 2014. 
  13. ^ "�Indipendenza, 700 mila voti» Scontro sul referendum digitale - Corriere del Veneto". Corriere del Veneto. Retrieved 30 September 2014. 
  14. ^ "BBC News - Venice votes on splitting from Rome". BBC News. Retrieved 30 September 2014. 
  15. ^ "Venetians vote to say arrivederci to Italy". The Times. Retrieved 30 September 2014. 
  16. ^ "REFERENDUM DI INDIPENDENZA DEL VENETO: I RISULTATI". Repubblica Veneta, federale, indipendente, libera e sovrana. Retrieved 30 September 2014. 
  17. ^ "Veneto Libero, Indipendente (nella Nato in Europa e con l'Euro.... Il Problema è lo STATO ITALIANO) - Rischio Calcolato". Retrieved 30 September 2014. 
  18. ^ "Referendum indipendenza Veneto: 2 milioni di sì". rainews. Retrieved 30 September 2014. 
  19. ^ "In mille dichiarano l’indipendenza �Ora Zaia può solo inseguirci» - Corriere del Veneto". Corriere del Veneto. Retrieved 30 September 2014. 
  20. ^ "Veneto residents support leaving Italy in unofficial referendum". Telegraph.co.uk. 21 March 2014. Retrieved 30 September 2014. 
  21. ^ "Venice votes to split from Italy as 89% of the city's residents opt to form a new independent state". Mail Online. Retrieved 30 September 2014. 
  22. ^ "Indipendenza del Veneto, via libera del consiglio regionale al referendum". Corriere del Veneto. 2014-06-12. 
  23. ^ http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2014/nov/14/scotland-demand-independence-vote-uk-leaves-eu-snp-nicola-sturgeon
  24. ^ http://www.heraldscotland.com/politics/scottish-politics/almost-half-of-the-country-wants-to-see-independence-referendum-again.25900277
  25. ^ http://www.eveningtimes.co.uk/news/u/more-than-a-quarter-of-scots-against-a-second-referendum.1416223844

See also[edit]