Public to draw up new electoral system

10th June 2005, Comments 0 comments

10 June 2005, AMSTERDAM — In what is the start of a government drive to close the gulf between politicians and the electorate, the Dutch public will be given the opportunity to draw up proposals for a new electoral system.

10 June 2005

AMSTERDAM — In what is the start of a government drive to close the gulf between politicians and the electorate, the Dutch public will be given the opportunity to draw up proposals for a new electoral system.

Government Reform Minister Alexander Pechtold said on Friday the unorthodox approach will involve a 'public council' given the task of designing a new system.

The Cabinet and then the public, via a referendum, would need to approve of the plans. The referendum would be held at the same time as national elections in 2007.

The Democrat D66 minister also said the Dutch political parties would be unable to ignore the public council's proposals.

The council would consist of 160 Dutch citizens, who would then be advised and supported by public servants. Pechtold will appoint the council chairperson. The costs are estimated between EUR 3 million and 3.5 million.

Suggestions for a new electoral system will be collected during nation-wide meetings and via written contributions from the public and electoral experts.

It is also intended that members of the council actively inform the public about the plans, in what Pechtold hopes will bring the entire public into the process.

One of the key tenets of the D66 policy base is democratic reform. It agreed to enter a coalition government with the Christian Democrat CDA and Liberal VVD on the promise it could pursue such a policy.

But having lost a Senate vote earlier this year aimed at paving the way for direct mayoral elections, the D66 was left with one other 'crown jewel': the development of a new electoral system.

However, the policy idea has met with a lack of enthusiasm among the political elite in The Hague and it is uncertain whether the public will greet the new plan of action with any more excitement.

[Copyright Expatica News + ANP 2005]

Subject: Dutch news

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