1978 Guyanese constitutional referendum

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A constitutional referendum was held in Guyana on 10 July 1978. The proposed change to Article 73 of the constitution would abolish the need for referendums to change the entrenched provisions of the constitution (including presidential powers, the dissolution of Parliament and the electoral system) and instead allow them to be changed by a two-thirds majority in parliament (which the ruling People's National Congress had at the time).[1] It would also result in the postponement of the elections scheduled for later in the year, and instead the parliament elected in 1973 would be declared a Constituent Assembly.[2]

The bill was passed by parliament on 10 April, with the referendum to be held three months later. The changes were reportedly approved by 97% of voters with a turnout of 70%,[3] although the figures were subject to fraud by the government.[4] The opposition claimed that turnout was only between 10% and 14%.[4]

Following the referendum, the parliamentary term was prolonged and a new socialist constitution was written and promulgated in 1980.[1]


Choice Votes %
For 419,936 97.09
Against 8,956 2.91
Invalid/blank votes 2,228
Total 431,120 100
Registered voters/turnout 609,225 70.77
Source: Direct Democracy


  1. ^ a b Rigged referendum Guyana Journal, April 2006
  2. ^ Nohlen, D (2005) Elections in the Americas: A data handbook, Volume I, p356 ISBN 978-0-19-928357-6
  3. ^ Guyana, 10 July 1978: Constitutional amendments of the Parliament Direct Democracy ‹See Tfd›(in German)
  4. ^ a b Nohlen, p365