Abolishing consultative referendum a massive step backwards

3 July 2018

Abolishing consultative referendum a massive step backwards

Today the Senate debates the abolition of the consultative referendum. Only a very few European countries have no referenda, yet if it's up to the government the Netherlands will soon join this tiny group. This is thanks to a giant U-turn from one of the governing parties, D66, which has in the past always been in favour of consultative referenda. All evidence points to the conclusion that the Dutch people want to maintain this right.

Commenting on the issue, SP Senator Frank Köhler said “The least the government could do is give the Dutch people the chance to express their views on this abolition. Wisely enough from her own point of view, the minister has declared this proposal 'non-referendable'. It's painful to see the proposed measure defended by a minister from the D66 party. Because while this may be legally possible, many experts agree with us that it is neither logical nor honest.”

The government’s reason for abolishing the referendum, as expressed by D66 Interior Minister Kajsa Ollongren, is that it has not fulfilled expectations, This measure, however, will harm still further public confidence. The SP favours a binding referendum, but that's no reason not to fight against the abolition of consultative referenda, as Köhler insists: “Democratic renewal demands the strengthening of the existing means, not their abolition.”

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