Policy Agenda and Legitimation: Referendums on Interethnic Relations in Central and Eastern Europe

Sergiu Gherghina, Nanuli Silagadze

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review


The increasing use of referendums in contemporary societies raises

several questions about their emergence. Among these, it is unclear

why controversial and sensitive issues are subjected to popular vote.

So far, limited research has investigated why referendums on

interethnic relations are initiated. This article seeks to address this

gap in the literature and analyzes these reasons by focusing on all

five referendums called on interethnic relations in Central and

Eastern Europe. These referendums are those organized in Estonia

(1992), Latvia (1998 and 2012), Hungary (2004) and Slovenia

(2004). The findings of our qualitative analysis reveal that the

initiators were driven either by agenda-setting or policy

legitimation incentives.

Original languageUndefined/Unknown
Pages (from-to)389–410
JournalNationalism and Ethnic Politics
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2018
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

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