When who and how matter: explaining the success of referendums in Europe

Nanuli Silagadze, Sergiu Gherghina

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

19 Citations (Scopus)


This article aims to identify the institutional factors that make a referendum successful. This comparative analysis seeks to explain the success of top-down referendums organized in Europe between 2001 and 2013. It argues and tests for the main effect of three institutional factors (popularity of the initiator, size of parliamentary majority, and political cues during referendum campaigns) and controls for the type of referendum and voter turnout. The analysis uses data collected from referendums and electoral databases, public opinion surveys, and newspaper articles. Results show that referendums proposed by a large parliamentary majority or with clear messages from political parties during campaign are likely to be successful.

Original languageUndefined/Unknown
Pages (from-to)905-922
Number of pages17
JournalComparative European Politics
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2018
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • referendum, direct democracy, success,party cues

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