Culture, Institutions and Campaign Effects: Explaining the Outcome of Malta's EU Accession Referendum

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Abstract

This survey examines the background to and the campaign preceding Malta's EU accession referendum. The result of the referendum, which was held on 8 March 2003, and which was the first of the EU accession referendums of 2003, was a 53.65% vote in support of membership, on a turnout of close to 91%. Explaining both the relatively low support for EU accession and the high turnout on referendum day involves weighing up the relative impact of distinctive features of Malta's political culture and institutional framework against more immediate campaign effects. While the conclusion is that the high turnout in the Maltese EU accession referendum can be traced to Malta's political culture, the relatively low but positive vote in favour of membership can only be fully understood by focusing on a range of factors, including campaign-related factors, such as the credibility of the arguments presented by the 'yes' and 'no' camps and the balance of resources available. The most important factor explaining the result of the Maltese referendum are, however, the cues provided by the political parties prior to and over the course of the referendum campaign.
Translated title of the contributionCulture, Institutions and Campaign Effects: Explaining the Outcome of Malta's EU Accession Referendum
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)584 - 602
Number of pages19
JournalWEST EUROPEAN POLITICS
Volume27 (4)
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2004

Bibliographical note

Publisher: Routledge

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