On 10 October, Carinthia will celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Carinthian referendum, a historical event of great importance for all of Austria. After the first application of the “right of self-determination for peoples” in 1920, the inhabitants of the referendum zone decided by a clear majority to stay with the then still young Republic of Austria and against the SHS state.

The peace treaty of St. Germain in September 1919 provided for a referendum in Southern Carinthia. The Carinthian referendum is regarded as the first grassroots democratic decision in view of the current propagation of direct democracy as a particularly shining example.

Austria’s Federal President Alexander Van der Bellen had a positive view of the 100th anniversary of the Carinthian referendum. “A new feeling of togetherness is developing here, quite beyond the old dividing lines, which is also very reasonable”, he said in an interview for the APA and the Slovenian news agency STA in Vienna.

According to Van der Bellen, the Allies were historically right to ask the population. At that time, the majority of the population of Carinthia had decided to stay with the young Republic of Austria. He found this interesting because outside Carinthia there was great concern that this state would not be viable at all, and “here was a group that said Yes, we want to stay there.” (Source: ORF)

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