Crawl Across the Ocean

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Supermajority To The Rescue?

Vues D'Ici has an interesting post up on the conditions set by the EU on the upcoming (May 21) independence vote in Montenegro (currently part of Serbia):

"the referendum question must be clear, unambiguous and not misleading, and ... at least 55% of voters casting ballots must opt for independence. The vote will be viewed as invalid and independence illegitimate if these two conditions are not met. The EU also ordered the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe, the main democracy watchdog, not to monitor the vote unless it is conducted on these terms."

As Vues D'Ici notes, this could well have implications on the sovereignty movement in Quebec, especially with regards to France:

"You may recall that back in 1998, the Supreme Court ruled that Quebec could separate if the referendum was held asking a clear question and resulted in a clear majority. The clear question part is also covered by the Clarity Act, but no one's ever tried to determine what 'a clear majority' would be. The Parti Québécois insists 50% plus 1 is all they need. André Boisclair, the new PQ leader, reiterated that. The PQ's policy platform adopted last May makes it very clear that 50%+1 is all they'd need for a unilateral declaration of independence. And of course, Quebec has always banked on other countries, most notably France, immediately recognizing Quebec following a 50%+1 victory by the 'Yes' side."

But of course France is part of the EU, which decided that 50% + 1 wasn't good enough for Montenegro, so why should it be good enough for Quebec?

While I'm on the topic of Montenegro, Doug Saunders had an interesting column in the globe on the referendum (as part of his series in the Balkans), focussing less on the implications for Quebec and more on the regional dynamics in Europe, particularly within Montenegro.

And finally, I can't help (sarcastically) adding - it's a good thing they only want independence. If they wanted to do something really important like change their electoral system, they'd certainly need 60% in favour for the vote to be legitimate!


  • Speaking of Doug Saunders. It's about two years too late but thankfully the Globe has given him more of a presence than just a Saturday column. He's arguably my favourite columnist at the Globe. I don't necessarily agree with everything that he writes but what he writes I always find intriguing.

    By Blogger Bailey, at 8:21 PM  

  • Yeah, along with John Barber and Jeffrey Simpson, I'd agree that Saunders is probably one of the best Globe columnists.

    By Blogger Declan, at 11:25 AM  

  • "If they wanted to do something really important like change their electoral system, they'd certainly need 60% in favour for the vote to be legitimate!"


    By Blogger ainge lotusland, at 6:52 PM  

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