Analysis: Understanding the Brexit outcome

Kaufmann says the Brexit vote is a wake-up call for both London and the EU

Watching the outcome from London, direct democracy expert Bruno Kaufmann says that the outcome of the vote is “a democratic emergency call” to give more participatory powers to citizens. “More direct democracy at all political levels.”

This content was published on June 24, 2016 - 14:07

However, he argues that the form of a top-down plebiscite Brexit-style referendum, chosen by British government, is not the right way to go about it.

Kaufmann says Britain’s parliamentary democracy and its “winner takes it all” system has been struggling for decades to represent the interests of the nearly 65 million residents in the UK.

For large parts of the population, many government decisions have lost their legitimacy and people failed to understand why their government helped to support certain choices taken by Brussels, Kaufmann says.

The editor-in-chief of the people2power platform also stresses that Brussels can no longer turn a blind eye to obvious shortcomings in the EU as done in the cases of previous votes in Denmark and Ireland, and refuse to take the consequences.

“The national conservative forces in other EU member states did not wait long to call for similar referendums.”

Kaufmann cautions it will be necessary to negotiate the exact terms of Britain’s decision to quit the EU. “And this is likely to take years.”

He also points out the social and notably regional fault lines. Scotland and possibly also Northern Ireland might increase pressure on the government in London for splitting from London. “Not necessarily a scenario the conservative British prime minister, David Cameron, was keen to go down in history books for.”

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