'Government deliberately making it harder to vote in Ukraine referendum'

17 February 2016

'Government deliberately making it harder to vote in Ukraine referendum'

The number of polling booths available to voters in the referendum on the EU-Ukraine Association Agreement scheduled for April 6 has been reduced by an average of 10% across different local authorities, according to an investigation by state broadcaster NOS.

SP Member of Parliament Ronald van Raak says that the government is making it harder for people to vote. 'In a referendum you're asking citizens for their opinion,' says Van Raak. 'The government should be encouraging people to vote. Prime Minister Mark Rutte and Interior Minister Ronald Plasterk are doing precisely the opposite.' Anything which impacts on the turnout is particularly significant, as a minimum participation of 30% is needed for the result to be valid.

Many SP branches are resisting the decision by their local authority to reduce the number of polling stations. One of these is Geldrop-Mierlo in the south of the country, where on an SP initiative a planned reduction from twenty to eight polling stations was prevented. The decision by local authorities was in part motivated by Plasterk's declaration that less money had been set aside for the referendum. Again on an SP initiative, the amount of money available has been increased. 'That's good news,' says Van Raak. 'But if local authorities are still deciding to greatly reduce the number of polling stations as a result of a shortage of funds, Plasterk needs to meet with them.'

You are here