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Brits can’t believe Brexit is really happening, so they’re petitioning for another EU referendum

Reuters/Andrew Kelly
What have we done?
  • Akshat Rathi
By Akshat Rathi

Senior reporter

Published Last updated This article is more than 2 years old.

About 16.1 million Brits voted to keep the UK in the EU, but 17.4 million voted to leave. With a difference of 1.3 million—and a margin of 48% to 52%—it would seem like a clear win for one camp.

Or so you would think. Not everyone is convinced, and they are signing petitions in large numbers to call for another run of the EU referendum.

One such petition had already got more than 103,000 signatures before the official parliamentary website crashed. The petition asked the UK government to set up a rule that would accept the “leave” vote only if it got a 60% majority with 75% turnout. With 100,000 signatures reached, the parliament will be forced to consider debating it.

These petitions can work, as happened when the parliament was forced to debate whether to ban Donald Trump from entering the UK. But, in this case, there is little chance that anything will come of it beyond a required debate.

Even though a country can set its own rules to deciding the outcome of a referendum, only a handful have set conditions that are as demanding as wanting more than 60% of a vote to seal the fate of a referendum, according the Sweden-based Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance, an intergovernmental organization that supports sustainable democracy worldwide. Moreover, those that do set such conditions tend to be small nations like the Pacific island of Kiribati.

Still, these desperate attempts are a sign of the deep turmoil the UK is feeling following the Brexit vote. Only time will tell if this will make the country stronger or divide it further.

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