Mexican emperor referendum, 1863
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A referendum on Maximilian becoming Emperor was held in Mexico on 4 December 1863. The proposal was supposedly approved by 100% of voters, with not a single vote cast against. Maximilian subsequently took the throne on 11 April 1864, starting the era of the Second Mexican Empire. In 1867 Maximilian was dethroned and executed.
In 1861 Mexican president Benito Juárez declared a moratorium on the country's debt as it was effectively bankrupt. The country's creditors, led by Napoleon III decided to take military action. On 10 June 1863 French troops captured Mexico City. A Council of Regency and Assembly of Notables were summoned, and on 10 July offered Maximilian the Crown.
|Source: Direct Democracy|
The official figures are not deemed credible. The invading French army only conducted the referendum in the occupied area between Toluca, Mexico City and Veracruz. Voters signed a register (which ultimately weighed 700lbs) that was subsequently passed to Maximilian in Trieste.
Analysis by Jankoff suggested that in reality 18 of the 24 states had agreed to Maximilian becoming Emperor. In total around 7,303,000 voted for him and around 1,162,000 for Juárez (or the republic).
- Mexico, 4 December 1863: Archduke Maximilian of Habsburg-Lorraine as Emperor Direct Democracy (in German)