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Reforming the European UnionRealizing the Impossible$
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Daniel Finke, Thomas König, Sven-Oliver Proksch, and George Tsebelis

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780691153926

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: October 2017

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691153926.001.0001

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Why (Unpopular) Leaders Announce Popular Votes

Why (Unpopular) Leaders Announce Popular Votes

(p.129) Chapter Five Why (Unpopular) Leaders Announce Popular Votes
Reforming the European Union

Thomas König

Daniel Finke

Princeton University Press

This chapter focuses on political leaders' responses to the European Convention's proposal of revising the Treaty of Nice via the Treaty Establishing a Constitution for Europe in spring 2003. To understand the announcements of popular votes by political leaders, it investigates their choice of ratification paths from a strategic perspective, which considers the interactions among political leaders, political parties in the domestic parliaments, and voters. It argues that when choosing a ratification path, political leaders attempted to anticipate the reactions of parliaments and voters. The empirical analysis reveals that these leaders not only considered their expected gains from each ratification path—that is, their gains from the revision of the Treaty of Nice and the likelihood for successful ratification—but also recognized the strategic implications of a referendum announcement for both European and domestic politics.

Keywords:   institutional reform, European Union, European Convention, Treaty of Nice, Treaty Establishing a Constitution for Europe, popular votes, political leaders, political parties, domestic parliaments

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