If at the coming referendum, the Falkland Islands wish to remain a UK Overseas Territory, retaining the current status and preserving the right to self-determination, which would allow the Falkland Islands to review its status at any time, “this could include full independence in the future”, points out the booklet “On the future of the Falkland Islands”.
The explicative booklet released on Friday by the Falkland Islands elected government in support of the confirmation of the date and question of the coming referendum, explains to voters the current political situations in the Falklands and Argentina, the reason for calling the referendum and what Yes or No means for the future.
Follows the text of the booklet:
On the 10th and 11th March 2013, there will be a referendum on the political future of the Falkland Islands. This booklet explains the referendum, and what your vote would mean.
What is a referendum?
A referendum is a general vote by the electorate on a single political question. This particular referendum is a consultative referendum and is being held to seek your opinion on the political status of the Falkland Islands.
Why are we having this referendum?
The United Kingdom has sovereignty of the Falkland Islands. Argentina meanwhile claims that the Islands are theirs, and have requested that the UK Government enter into negotiations over this sovereignty. The UK Government support the Falkland Islanders’ right of self-determination, allowing the people of the Falkland Islands to decide their future. The Argentine Government states that it does not believe that the Islanders have this right and, as evidenced in their Constitution, claim full sovereignty of the Islands.
The purpose of this referendum is to give Falkland Islanders the opportunity to clearly state, through an open and observed democratic process, what they wish the political status of the Falkland Islands to be.
What is the question?
A referendum asks you to vote yes or no to a proposal. For this referendum, you will receive a ballot paper with this question:
The current political status of the Falkland Islands is that they are an Overseas Territory of the United Kingdom. The Islands are internally self-governing, with the United Kingdom being responsible for matters including defence and foreign affairs. Under the Falkland Islands Constitution the people of the Falkland Islands have the right to self-determination, which they can exercise at any
time. Given that Argentina is calling for negotiations over the sovereignty of the Falkland Islands, this referendum is being undertaken to consult the people regarding their views on the political status of the Falkland Islands. Should the majority of votes cast be against the current status, the Falkland Islands Government will undertake necessary consultation and preparatory work in order to conduct a further referendum on alternative options.
Do you wish the Falkland Islands to retain their current politicalstatus as an Overseas Territory of the United Kingdom?
YES or NO
What is the current political status of the Falkland Islands?
The Falkland Islands are one of 14 Overseas Territories (OTs) of the UK. Each of these OTs has its own constitution, its own government and its own local laws. They are therefore all different and there is no blueprint for the administration of the OTs. But there are some common themes, which of course apply to the Falkland Islands. These themes are described in detail in the June 2012 White Paper [The Overseas Territories: Security Success and Sustainability] (http://bit.ly/LiPmM9).
In short, the relationship between the UK and its OTs is based on the principles of selfdetermination and autonomy, whilst recognising mutual responsibility and a pledge of UK support when needed. The relationship between the Falkland Islands and the UK is essentially described in the Falkland Islands Constitution Order 2008
(http://bit.ly/V5LqDt). This spells out the degree of autonomy of the Falkland Islands Government whilst also describing the responsibilities of the UK towards the Islands.
The UK Government maintains a long-standing position on independence for the OTs, recognising that any decision to sever the constitutional link between the UK and an OT should be on the basis of the wishes of the people of the OT. Where independence is an option and it is the clear and constitutionally expressed wish of the people to pursue independence, the UK Government will meet its obligation to help the OT achieve this aim.
What is the Argentine position on the Falkland Islands?
The Argentine Constitution (http://bit.ly/zvdOvm), as amended in 1994, is clear that the Argentine Government claims full sovereignty over the Falkland Islands:
“The Argentine Nation ratifies its legitimate and non-prescribing sovereignty over the Malvinas, Georgias del Sur and Sandwich del Sur Islands and over the corresponding maritime and insular zones, as they are an integral part of the National territory. The recovery of said territories and the full exercise of sovereignty, respectful of the way of life of their inhabitants and according to the principles of international law, are a permanent and unrelinquished goal of the Argentine people.”
What does a YES vote mean?
If more people vote ‘yes’ than ‘no’ then the Falkland Islands Government will confirm to the UK government that the Falkland Islands wish to remain a UK Overseas Territory, retaining the current status and preserving the right to self-determination, which would allow the Falkland Islands to review its status at any time. This could include full independence in the future.
What does a NO vote mean?
If more people vote ‘no’ than ‘yes’ then Falkland Islands Government will undertake further consultation and preparatory work leading to a further referendum on alternative options. These alternatives would be representative of public opinion, as identified through open and free consultation.