Wednesday, April 16, 2014 - 08:20
Senate approves referendum
The Senate voted on the bill to amend referenda, put forward by PvdA, D66 and GroenLinks. The so-called advisory referendum (non-binding) will be instated temporarily until there is a corrective referendum (binding). The advisory referendum is getting a participation quorum of 30 percent of those eligible to vote. An advisory referendum is relatively easy to realize, whereas a corrective referendum is a long-winded and requires amendments to the constitution. Firstly, Parliament has to approve these amendments, then elections must come on top of them, then the amendments need to be accepted by at least two-thirds of Parliament. The 'temporary' in the advisory referendum, which is on the board now, can still be flexible. Out of the procedures from last week, it seems that the government is neutral in the face of the plans. Ronald Plasterk did mention that the referendum should be a last-ditch attempt, and should not grow into standard procedure. The D66 explains that 10,000 signatures are needed for an advisory referendum request to pass. To then have the referendum actually take place needs another 300,000 votes. Gerard Schouw of the D66 is happy. "The referendum gives Dutch people the serious ability to speak out for themselves and they get a serious voice in the decision-making process of the government." Fractions from the PvdA, PVV, GroenLinks, SP, D66, Party for Animals, OSF and 50PLUS voted for on Tuesday. Fractions from the VVD, CDA, SGP and ChristenUnie voted against. The initiators of the bill almost immediately agreed with the PvdA when they demanded the named election threshold and also the temporality of the advisory referendum. The initiators promised to make the adjustments in a 'reparation law' which still needs to be brought to light.