Holding the referendum on giving sweeping new powers to the security services at the same time as the local council elections boosted turnout considerably, according to preliminary figures from news agency ANP.
With over 80% of the referendum votes now counted, 48.9% have voted against the new legislation and 47.2% in favour. Almost 4% of the voting forms had been left blank. Only Dutch nationals could take part in the vote.
ANP says 53% of voters took part in the referendum in the 335 areas where new local councils were being elected but only 30.5% in areas without council elections.
For the referendum to have any weight, at least 30% of the electorate have to take part.
The final result in the referendum is still too close to call, but it is also clear that the no vote is much larger in areas where there were no local council elections, such as Groningen and Leeuwarden, ANP said.
There was also a no vote in Utrecht, Amstelveen, Delft, Haarlem, The Hague, Eindhoven and Nijmegen but a narrow majority in favour of the new law in most smaller towns and cities. The Amsterdam vote has not yet been finalised.
The government has abolished the legislation which allows referendums to be held if enough people sign a petition in favour. However, home affairs minister Kajsa Ollongren has said that she will carefully consider the result of the ‘dragnet law’ vote.
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