Today (Thursday, June 23) is a big day for the European Union as the decision whether the U.K. will remain in the 28-member trade block or not will be made through The Brexit referendum.
Here are the most important details you need to understand Brexit…
A ‘YES’ / ‘NO’ referendum is being held today to decide whether Britain should leave or remain in the European Union. The much talked about referendum is borne out of David Cameron’s promise before emerging Britain’s Prime Minister in the 2015 general election about Britain not having a say since 1975, when it voted to stay in the EU in a referendum; this was raised by Mr. Cameron’s Conservative MPs and the UK Independence Party (UKIP).
CREATION AND ESSENCE OF BREXIT
The European Union actually began after World War Two to foster economic co-operation, with the idea that countries which trade together are more likely to avoid going to war with each other. This led the economic and political partnership involving 28 European countries popularly called EU today but a lot has changed about the EU since then.
FORMATION OF ‘BREXIT’
The Brexit is just formed by merging the words ‘Britain’ and ‘exit’ to get ‘Brexit’. It is quite similar to the way Greek exited from the EU many years ago using ‘Grexit’, coined from ‘Greek’ and ‘exit’. The big question Brexit is asking today is, “Should the United Kingdom remain a member of the European Union or leave the European Union?”
ELIGIBILITY TO VOTE
Those eligible to take part in the referendum are British, Irish and Commonwealth citizens over 18 who are resident in the UK, along with UK nationals living abroad who have been on the electoral register in the UK in the past 15 years. Members of the House of Lords and Commonwealth citizens in Gibraltar are also eligible.
WHY LEAVE THE EUROPEAN UNION
Most people are asking why some members of the British public want the United Kingdom to leave the EU; the answer is simply because it is believed that Britain is being held back by the EU, which imposes too many rules on business and charges billions of pounds a year in membership fees for little in return.
It also believed that Britain want to take back full control of its borders and reduce the number of people coming to live and/or work in the country which opposes one of the main principles of EU membership- “free movement” allows members to live in another EU country without a visa.
HOW TO VOTE
The BREXIT system of voting is similar to that used in UK for other elections. All registered voters are provided a card with the details of when and where voting takes place on 23 June. At the polling station, a piece of paper with the referendum question on it will be provided. Voters then go to a booth, which have a pencil in it for use to put a X in the box which reflects one’s choice. Finally, the paper is dropped into a ballot box.
BREXIT POLITICAL OR ECONOMIC
There have been debates of whether Brexit is primarily about governance or economics. However, some believe that from an economic point of view, the risks for both the UK and the rest of the EU are almost entirely on the downside.
FOR OR AGAINST BREXIT?
David Cameron, the Prime Minister and 16 members of his cabinet want Britain to stay in the EU. The Labour Party, SNP, Plaid Cymru, the Lib Dems, President Barack Obama and other EU nations such as France and Germany are also on the Prime Minister’s side but the Conservative Party has pledged to be neutral in the campaign.
IF YES, DOES UK LEAVE EU IMMEDIATELY?
It will take a minimum period of two years after the vote for UK to leave; within that period, Britain would continue to abide by EU treaties and laws, but not take part in any decision-making. However, a withdrawal agreement will be negotiated and this may take longer than two years.
THE BREXIT RESULTS
The world is curious to know when and how the result will be announced. We can be sure that the counts will begin when the polls closed by10:00PM, Thursday, June 23, at 382 local centres around the UK. The local results will be declared before being collated at 12 regional centres.
As the world eagerly awaits what the result will be there are so many political, financial and social fears coming along with the decision that will be made.
- Seyifunmi Adebote for encomium.ng.