IN THE JOURNAL | POINT OF VIEW
The end of a supraregional entity?
October-December 2017
By: Frega Ferdinand Wenas Inkiriwang

British voters’ decision to exit from the European Union, better known as “Brexit,” in a June 2016 referendum, was, in short, a massive shock, not only for the British public but also the world. It not only ruptured domestic politics by forcing the resignation of David Cameron as prime minister, who has been replaced by Theresa May, but rattled international markets and leaves the future of Europe under a cloud of uncertainty.

It was in another referendum only 42 years ago, in 1975, that 67 percent of British voters overwhelmingly supported moves to create a formal community of European nations. This time it was much different. While the vote was close, Britons showed a unique yet controversial desire to walk away from one of the world’s most solid supranational organizations, the EU.

The Brexit option was initially believed to only have support among a minority of the British population. Thus, Cameron confidently pushed forward with the 2016 referendum. He was sure that by giving people the opportunity to vote, they would choose to stay in the EU and the matter would be settled. Nonetheless, a few days prior to the big day, surveys indicated that there had been a substantial change in public opinion in favor of the leave option, including among older citizens from the “baby boomer” generation. And the final result, 52 percent to 48 percent for Brexit, bore that out.



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