5 November 2018

Meaningful Majorities in Referendum

40 years ago a referendum about whether or not to use Nuclear Energy was held in Austria. The power plant was practically ready to go into operation but anti-nuclear activists had backed the government into a corner. As a result it was decided to let the citizens have their say. The result was an extremely narrow majority (50.5%) in favour of not using the finished (!) power plant. This raises the question of what level the qualified majority should be - easy to answer in case of constitutional matters. But not so easy in all other decisions.