To what extent are referendums useful in resolving intractable conflict and bringing peace? If Israelis and Palestinians or Sinhalese and Tamils reach a peace settlement in their decades-old conflicts, would a referendum be useful in ratifying a negotiated agreement and, if so, how should it be designed, monitored and implemented? To better understand these questions, this project proposes the first worldwide collection of data on referendums in peace processes aiming to identify the conditions under which referendums enable or impede negotiated agreements. Currently the project's website includes a pilot description of seven major case studies aiming to help guide future data collection on the topic. The project’s website will expand to allow users to identify a country of interest and access detailed narratives on the background of each conflict and the conditions leading to referendums or alternative ratification processes (or their absence). It will include data on the design, scope and timing of each referendum, the wording of specific referendum question(s) and data on violence including levels, nature and duration of violent incidents before and after (non)referendums. It will also cover important disputes over territorial boundaries, issues of transitional justice (e.g. amnesty for rebels) and eligibility to vote for certain groups (e.g. recent settlers/migrants). Moreover, the dataset will provide detailed analysis of key actors in referendum campaigns and their main arguments as well as positive or negative media and civil society input and final outcomes along with links to relevant surveys.
Links to working papers:
This dataset is under construction. For draft policy papers and further information please see below or contact Dr. Neophytos Loizides at firstname.lastname@example.org
Neophytos Loizides, 'Referendums in Peace Processes', International Studies Association Annual Convention, New York 2009 (available at http://works.bepress.com/neophytos_loizides/22/)
Neophytos Loizides, 'Mandate Referendums and Peace Agreement Ratification', International Studies Association Annual Convention, Montreal 2011 (available at http://works.bepress.com/neophytos_loizides/21/)
The Economist has mentioned the project's website on October 14th, 2010 with reference to a current bill in the Israeli Knesset debating a referendum on the current peace talks: http://www.economist.com/node/17249644?story_id=17249644
The Israel/Palestine Centre for Documentation and Research has replicated the project's database in its latest report on the current peace process in the Middle East: http://www.ipcri.org/files/referenda.html
Neophytos G. Loizides, Referendums in Peace Processes Dataset, Queen's University Belfast (available online at http://www.qub.ac.uk/research-centres/CentrefortheStudyofEthnicConflict/TeachingResearch/Datasets/ReferendumsinPeaceProcesses/#d.en.173183)