Nov. 8, 2018 Weekly Graphs

2018 marks the two-year anniversary of the Brexit referendum and the UK  is scheduled to leave the EU in March 2019. However, since that vote, increasing numbers of Britons have expressed doubts about this decision. Former prime minister Tony Blair has, for example, called for a second referendum on the Brexit deal, which is yet to be finalized. Holding two referenda on the same issue is not unusual. This has happened three times previously in the EU - in Denmark on the Maastricht Treaty in 1992, in Ireland concerning the Nice Treaty in 2001, and in Ireland again regarding the Lisbon Treaty in 2009. In all of these cases, voters did change their mind and voted in favor.  

As we can see, direct democracy has continuously proved to be an important tool for governments in order to increase civic engagement in policy decision processes. Here we examine how many countries held referenda in 2017. The new V-Dem mapping tool provides an answer by visualizing V-Dem data on the “referendum permitted” indicator by illustrating it on a world map. As we can see, only a few countries used the instrument of referenda in 2017; mainly states in Central and South America as well as some European countries. 

To learn more about direct democracy or the usage of referenda for the past 118 year, please visit


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