2023 Sámedagi referendum
The 2023 Sámedagi referendum was a national referendum held in Hverland to decide the fate of the Sámedagi, the representative assembly for the Hverfolk, the indigenous population of Hverland. The referendum took place on 29 August, the same day as the regularly scheduled 2023 Sámedagi election. The referendum ended in a decisive defeat, with 42.6% in favor and 57.4% opposed to the abolition.
The Sámedagi was established in 1966 in collaboration with the Office for Culture and Education. It plays a critical role in representing the Hverfolk community, contributing to legislative processes, and promoting cultural preservation, among other functions. The referendum was introduced by the majority coalition in the nation's parliament, the Fjallting, consisting of the Centre Party, the Visionary Party, and the Conservative Nationals.
The referendum proposed integrating the functions and responsibilities of the Sámedagi into the Office for Hverfolk and Indigenous Interests (HIHS). According to the government, the move aimed to streamline operations, reduce costs, and improve governance. However, the proposal faced severe criticism from various quarters, including the opposition parties and significant segments of the Hverfolk community.
|Social Democratic Party
Throughout the campaign, the government faced challenges in conveying the rationale behind the proposed changes to the public. The lack of clear communication and perceived ambiguity led to widespread skepticism.
On 29 August, the referendum concluded with 42.6% of the population voting in favor and 57.4% against the abolition of the Sámedagi. The defeat was considered a significant political setback for the government and led to a decline in their public image.
|Registered voters and turnout
|Source: Hverlandic Electoral Authority
The defeat of the referendum has thrown the government into a period of introspection and has opened up new questions about their future policy directions. The result also signifies a public endorsement of the Sámedagi’s role in maintaining the cultural, economic, and political integrity of the Hverfolk community.