Bye-elections Digest 2019

   Dr. Theresa Reidy, University College Cork Bye-elections are odd political events. The likelihood of a single vote having an impact on government survival is marginal, even in the relatively tight arithmetic of the current Dáil. And in some way, voters seem to know this. The four bye-elections in Cork North Central, Dublin Fingal, Dublin…

DECISIONS, DECISIONS BINARY OR MULTI-OPTION AND/OR PREFERENTIAL VOTES By Peter Emerson, Director de Borda Institute

We cannot determine a collective opinion, if those concerned do not state their individual opinions, if they vote only ‘no’.   Logically, an ‘Option X, yes-or-no? (‘remain-or-leave?)’ ballotcannot identify “the will of the people”. Furthermore, when there is no majority for any one thing, there is a majority against every single thing. In June 2016,…

Is there anything to be said for thinking about citizens’ assemblies?

Nicola Sturgeon, the Scottish first minister, recently promised to introduce a new Scottish independence referendum before the next Holyrood elections in 2021. That timeline is thought ambitious by many in Scotland, and for some her more significant announcement was that there would be a citizens’ assembly to debate “what kind of country are we seeking…

Referendums in Ireland and the UK: comparisons and contrasts

Recent referendums in Ireland and the UK highlight stark differences regarding the place of the referendum as a political institution within the respective overall political systems, and also raise some questions about how a referendum outcome should be interpreted. The most obvious difference is the highly specified role of the referendum in the Irish political…

Brexit as Political Irony

Guest post by Feargal Cochrane, University of Kent. This article is part of an ongoing blog series ‘Brexit Countdown’ by the Political Studies Association of Ireland (PSAI) and Political Studies Association (PSA). The Brexit negotiations have proved to be confusing, frustrating and perhaps even a little boring for all but the most parched of Brexaholics.…