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The New Union Treaty (Russian: Новый союзный договор) was a treaty that replaced the 1922 Treaty on the Creation of the USSR and reformed the Soviet Union into the Union of Soviet Sovereign Republics. The Treaty was conceived when a draft was submitted to the Supreme Soviet of the Soviet Union on November 23, 1990. A drafting committee started work on the text on January 1, 1991. Six of the fifteen Soviet republics, however, did not participate in the drafting of the treaty: Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Moldavia, Georgia and Armenia. The proposal was approved by the Soviet of the Union on March 6 and sent to the Supreme Soviets of the republics for approval. Agreement could not be reached on the distribution of power between the Union and the Republics and the proposal was not approved. As an additional restrictive element, some autonomous republics expressed the desire to raise their status and to be a party to the new Soviet treaty.
In order to gain popular support for the treaty, President Gorbachev held a popular referendum on March 17, 1991. Only nine republics of the fifteen republics (Russia, Ukraine, Byelorussia, Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyztan, Turkmenistan, and Tajikistan) took part in the referendum while the last six (Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Moldavia, Georgia and Armenia) boycotted the referendum. The results were a 77.85% in favor of preserving the Union while only 22.15% were against it. The referendum also saw an overwhelming 80.03% turnout of registered voters.