Massive 61.6pc of voters reject constitution

2nd June 2005, Comments 0 comments

2 June 2005, AMSTERDAM — The Dutch public massively rejected the EU Constitution in a referendum on Wednesday, when 61.6 percent voted 'no' and only 38.4 percent voted in favour of its adoption.

2 June 2005

AMSTERDAM — The Dutch public massively rejected the EU Constitution in a referendum on Wednesday, when 61.6 percent voted 'no' and only 38.4 percent voted in favour of its adoption.

The turnout was 62.8 percent of registered voters, much higher than in recent European elections.

Right-wing independent MP Geert Wilders, who portrayed himself as a leading 'no' campaigner, is now expected to table a motion of no confidence against government ministers on Thursday when parliament debates the outcome of the referendum.

Deputy Prime Minister Gerrit Zalm has already indicated the Cabinet will withdraw from parliament a motion — the subject of the referendum — calling for the adoption of the constitution.

When vote counting was completed last night, it was confirmed the turnout for the referendum was 62.8 percent of registered voters. Of these, 61.6 percent voted against the constitution and only 38.4 percent in favour.

The final tally was very close to the provisional figures of 63 percent against and 37 percent in favour indicated by an exit poll released shortly after polling booths closed at 9pm on Wednesday.

The Dutch rejection was larger than in France, where 55 percent of the voters in Sunday's referendum said 'non' to the EU constitution.

The size of the turnout and 'nee' vote in the Netherlands has come as a shock to the centre-right coalition Dutch government of Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende.

Balkenende's Christian Democrat CDA and the main opposition party, Labour PvdA, had indicated they would accept the findings of the non-binding referendum if at least 30 percent of registered voters took part.

The average turnout was just under 63 percent across the country, while voter participation in the three of the nation's biggest cities was lower.

Turnout in the Dutch capital of Amsterdam was less than the average, but still just over 50 percent, with 57.7 percent voting against and 42.3 percent voting for the constitution.

The port city of Rotterdam gave an even more resounding 'nee', with 67.6 percent voting against the constitution on a turnout figure of 53.4 percent.

Some 53.1 percent of residents in The Hague took part, with the 'nee' campaign winning 58.5 percent of the vote and the 'ja' taking 41.5 percent.

The rejection of the constitution in France, and now the Netherlands, poses a serious problem for other European nations and EU leaders.

European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso insisted after the Dutch result the ratification process must continue across the continent and people wait for the EU summit in mid-June before passing judgment on the future of the process.

Nine of the bloc's 25 countries ratified the constitution prior to the no votes in the French and Dutch referendums. Spain was the only country to back the constitution in a referendum.

There is now some doubt whether Britain will go ahead with its plan to hold a referendum on the constitution. Denmark intends to proceed with its referendum on 27 September.

[Copyright Expatica News 2005]

Subject: Dutch news, EU constitution, Dutch referendum

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