Exit poll: Dutch voters against Ukraine deal

Ukraine referendum ballot
A ballot marked in favor of the Ukraine referendum. Apr. 6, 2016 (photo: MoniMonikaatje / Twitter). (A ballot marked in favor of the Ukraine referendum. Apr. 6, 2016 (photo: MoniMonikaatje / Twitter))

Exit polling in the Netherlands shows that a large proportion of Dutch voters have turned out to say against a trade agreement between the European Union and the Ukraine, but questions remain over the validity of the referendum vote. A law that went into force last year on such ballot measures require a voter turnout of 30 percent to be considered by the government.

Voter turnout was limited during the course of the day, and exit polling agency Ipsos believes that turnout will hit 32 percent, but there is a three percent margin of error, the firm said just before 9 p.m. The exit poll, in conjunction with broadcaster NOS, claims that 64 percent of voters surveyed would reject the Ukraine deal.

Ipsos surveyed between 20 and 30 thousand people outside 40 polling places across the country. The broadcaster is constantly updating a map of the Netherlands to break down how people voted in different municipalities.

Even as the vote is not legally binding, politicians in the Netherlands are taking the matter seriously. “The majority of the people who showed up to vote are clearly against [the agreement],” said D66 leader Alexander Pechtold. “I had hoped that the “yes” and “no” votes would have been closer together,” adding that now the waiting game will determine if enough people cast a vote.

The apathy towards the ballot box should also not be ignored, said ChristenUnie MP Gert-Jan Segers. “Even if it is at 29 percent you have to listen to all those people who have voted against it”, said Segers, adding that those who chose not to speak must also be heard.

Labour MP Marit Maij reaffirmed the coalition partner party’s stance that the voice of the people must not be silenced. “First we are waiting for a definitive count. We have already stated that the treaty can not move forward with a negative result,” Maij told Nu.nl.