Dutch 'no' vote wins in referendum

1st June 2005, Comments 0 comments

1 June 2005, AMSTERDAM — The Dutch public has resoundingly rejected the draft EU Constitution by voting 63 percent against and only 37 percent in favour in the nation's high-stakes referendum.

1 June 2005

AMSTERDAM — The Dutch public has resoundingly rejected the draft EU Constitution by voting 63 percent against and only 37 percent in favour in the nation's high-stakes referendum.

Polling stations on Wednesday closed at 9pm. An exit poll released moments later indicated the 26 percent margin.

Despite the fact the exit poll is provisional, it was immediately clear the Netherlands had become the second country after France to reject the constitution. Nine other countries have approved of the treaty.

Officially advisory in nature, the high voter turnout (62 percent) means the main political parties are expected to accept the public's decision.

The referendum's turnout easily topped the 39.1 percent of voters who went to the ballot box for the European Parliament elections last year.

It is the only good news for the Dutch government and opposition parties Labour PvdA and green-left GroenLinks, which had campaigned hard for a 'yes vote'.

Opponents to the constitution are now expected to demand the resignation of government ministers when the Dutch Parliament debates the referendum result on Thursday.

However, neither the resignation of Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende nor the collapse of his centre-right coalition government is expected.

The future of Foreign Affairs Minister Ben Bot or European Affairs State Secretary Atzo Nicolai has also been put up for discussion, but their resignation is not considered likely either.
  
The constitution is designed to streamline European Union institutions following the union's expansion last year. All 25 EU member states must back the constitution for it to be implemented.

[Copyright Expatica News + ANP 2005]

Subject: Dutch news

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