Direct Democracy in the Faroe Islands: A comparative study of referendums in a Faroese context

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There have been 14 referendums in the Faroe Islands about very different issues. In this paper these referendums will be analysed in relation to the use of referendums in the Faroe Islands – from the perspective of the political system as well as from the view of the voter. A comparison will be made with similar referendums in Denmark, Iceland and Australia. An attempt to classify Faroese referendums in accordance with international research will also be done. The conclusion in the article is 1) that historical and cultural conditions, especially the Danish Faroese relations, have influenced several of these referendums, even referendums that are not about these issues, 2) that referendums in the Faroe Islands haven’t always been well prepared by the political authorities, 3) that party politics usually have significant influence and 4) that the majority of the voters usually have used the vote to demonstrate against the more or less party politically biased intentions of the political majority that often have been underlying Faroese referendums. Generally speaking, this article concludes that if referendums are to be a real successful alternative to representative democratic deci­sion-making then they have to be preceded by negotiations where both – all – relevant oppos­ing sides agree on the referendum terms. This is especially very important when it comes to definitive referendums on secession.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)49-102
Number of pages53
JournalFróðskaparrit - Faroese Scientific Journal
Publication statusPublished - 2017


  • Democracy
  • Referendums
  • History


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