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Referendums that shaped the world as we know it...

Referendums that shaped the world as we know it...
Pic courtesy: AP

As Britain head for the much anticipated referendum on its future membership of the European Union, we look back in time at various referendums that are and will always be historically significant:


After the Iranian Monarchy came to an end due to Islamic Revolution in 1979, a referendum was held to decide whether to adopt anIslamic Republic system where direct represrentation is combined with religious authority.Unsurprisingly, 98% of the people voted Yes.



On 30 April 2002, General Pervez Musharraf held a referendum to justify his presidency to help bring back democracy in the country. Various claims of irregularities emerged as Musharraf extended his term to five years after the October elections. He later appeared on TV to apologize for the irregularities.



In 1962, a referendum was held to decide the terms of Singapore's merger into Malaysia. The three choices were: 1) To merge with Malaya, having autonomy in labour and education; 2) To merge with Malaya, having same status as the other states in Malaya; 3) To merge with Malaya, having terms similar to those of the Borneo territories. Option 1 won with 71% votes. \



On July 5 2015, a referendum was held to decide whether or not to accept the terms of an international bailout for the debt-ridden country. A tremendous 61% of voters opted to reject the austerity measures that accompanied the bailout package giving rise to doubts over Greece's position in Eurozone.



A record 85% voters turned out on 18 September 2014 to vote in the referendum on whether Scotland should exit or remain in the United Kingdom. The voters rejected the call of then Scottish first minister Alex Salmond fro independence as 55% voted 'No'.


6.Referendums for the formation of the European Union

European Union has seem a number of referendums throughout its history. The Pillar of EU, the Maastricht Treaty of 1992 was only approved after various referendums by the member states. Two referendums each were carried out in Denmark and Ireland before accepting the terms of the treaty. Similarly, in September 1992, people of France narrowly supported the approval of the treaty with 51% voting on favour.

The Treaty of Lisbon in 2007, that amended the two treaties that formed EU's constitutional basis, had to dace similar fate. The Irish electorate rejected the treaty in 2008, which was accepted by the members on 13 December 2007. They secured various concessions before accepting it in 2009, when the treaty finally came into affect.



On June 7 and 8, 2003, a referendum was held in Poland to decide on its joining of European Union.77.6% voters voted in favour of joining the EU, which led to Poland joining the EU after the ratification of the Treaty of Accession later that year.


8.Northern Ireland

A decisive 71.1% votes were in favour of accepting the Good Friday Agreements in 1998, when a referendum was held in Northern Ireland to garner support for this important political agreement among Britain, Northern Ireland and Republic of Ireland. An even bigger support was witnessed for the agreements in Republic of Ireland where 95% voters voted Yes.



Almost all 100% Norwegians voted in favour of Norway's independence from Sweden in 1905 with just 184 opposing the decision.



In 1993, President Boris Yeltsin dissolved the Congress of People's Deputies when it and the government failed to come to a compromise on a new constitution draft, leading to a constitutional crisis. This led to Yeltsin calling a new Constituent Assembly that favoured his views. The new constitution was published on November 11. A referendum was then held on December 12 to accept or reject the constitution where a favourable voteshare of 58.4% approved the constitution.



94% of Spanish voters approved a Political Reform Bill to establish a democracy in a referendum on 15 December 1976, after the death of Francisco Franco.

A new constitution was adopted on 6 December 1978 after 91% of voters voted favourably of its adoption.

Also, in 1986 another referendum approved Spain's membership of NATO.



On 3 March 2011,a referendum was held in Wales that asked the question: "Do you want the Assembly now to be able to make laws on all matters in the 20 subject areas it has powers for?"

63.49% voters voted 'Yes' which gave the National Assembly for Wales the right to make laws on all 20 subject areas, without needing the approval from UK parliament.