Sunday 18 August 2019

Ukraine referendum: should ‘yes’ supporters bother to vote?

Photo: Europa.eu

Photo: Europa.eu

The ‘no’ campaign may be well ahead in the forthcoming Dutch referendum on the EU treaty with Ukraine, but there is a real risk not enough people will vote to validate it, according to experts at the AD.

If the vote were held today, then the referendum is unlikely to gather enough votes, Peter Kanne of I&O Research told the paper. At least 30% of the electorate have to vote for the referendum to have any legal status.

I&O research indicates around 30% of the electorate are planning to vote on April 6. ‘We’ve still got six weeks to go, so it could be exciting,’ Kanne said. Some 38% plan to vote against the treaty, 32% back it and 30% are still undecided.

Low turnout

The big question among ‘yes’ voters is whether or not to vote at all, the AD points out. If turnout is less than 30% the government does not have to take the referendum into account, whatever the outcome.

GroenLinks youth organisation DWARS, for example, is urging voters to stay at home, a position which Kanne condemns for ‘belittling’ those who oppose the treaty.

‘The “yes” supporters tend to back D66, GroenLinks and the Labour party,’ Kanne said. ‘These are the very parties which introduced the law making referenda possible. If they start saying “stay home” you are ignoring the unease and feeding political cynicism.’

The Dutch parliament has already voted in favour of the treaty and the referendum only has an advisory role. Ministers have said they will ‘look seriously’ at the outcome.

Home affairs minister Ronald Plasterk has urged voters not to think tactically. ‘Go and vote,’ he is quoted as saying by the paper. ‘That is the logical and democratic approach.’

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