Samsom, Pechtold dismiss ‘Nexit’ referendum as reckless move

Labour leader Diederik Samsom
Photo: Theresa Posthuma de Boer/PvdA

Party leaders Diederik Samsom and Alexander Pechtold will oppose any plans to hold a UK-style ‘Nexit’ referendum on EU membership after next year’s Parliamentary elections.

Labour leader Samsom warned that a vote to leave would trigger a period of economic uncertainty, while Pechtold dismissed the idea as a ‘Wilders referendum’: a protest vote with no proposed alternative to being in the EU.

In the wake of the Brexit vote, Freedom Party leader Geert Wilders vowed to put a Nexit vote on the agenda in next year’s elections to Parliament, which are expected to be held in March.

Samsom told AD that a similar vote in the Netherlands would undermine the country’s democratic welfare state. ‘We’ve just emerged from an economic crisis, we have spent five years struggling to climb back up. It would be a bad move to cast ourselves back into uncertainty with investments drying up.’

Pechtold, whose left-liberal D66 party backed the idea of advisory referendums such as April’s vote on the Ukraine treaty, said it would be reckless to have a vote on EU membership. ‘A “leave” has totally unclear and unpredictable consequences,’ he told Trouw. ‘What are we supposed to be voting for?’

He added: ‘I’m not going to expose the country to that. It’s a “Wilders-referendum” that just destroys things with no alternative. We can see that now in Britain.’

A poll by Maurice de Hond at the weekend found that 50% of people questioned were against holding a referendum, while 47% were in favour. If the vote went ahead 43% would vote to leave. The figure was much higher among voters with the lowest educational profile, 64% of whom backed Nexit.

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