Dutch people shoot down Ukraine referendum; Voter turnout tops 30 pct.
On Wednesday the Netherlands voted "no" in the referendum on the association agreement between the EU and the Ukraine. According to preliminary results, the turnout was 32.2 percent, more than the minimum 30 percent for the referendum to be considered valid, NU.nl reports.
All votes were counted around midnight. 61.1 percent voted against the referendum, 38.1 percent voted for.
Of the four big cities, only Utrecht reached the 30 percent threshold limit. There the majority of 57.4 percent voted "yes" in the referendum. Amsterdam was also in favor of the association agreement with 52 percent voting for, the voter turnout was 26.8 percent.
The other two large cities were against the association agreement. In Rotterdam 64 percent voted "no", voter turnout 24.4 percent. In The Hague 58.9 percent were against, voter turnout 28.2 percent.
The municipality of Urk had the largest proportion "no" voters with 83.3 percent. Wageningen had the most "yes" voters with 62.4 percent. The small municipality of Rozendaal in Gelderland had the highest turnout with 49.1 percent of registered voters casting their vote, followed by the Wadden islands Schiermonikoog and Vleiland with a turnout of about 47 percent. Tilburg had the lowest turnout with 22.7 percent.
Even with the vast majority voting "no" and the more than the minimum 30 percent voting, the government can still choose to ignore the results. The official results will be presented on April 12th.
Prime Minister Mark Rutte told broadcaster NOS that the referendum's "no" result will not simply be ignored. "If the turnout is met, the ratification of this agreement can not continue without more happening." he said. He added that he wants time to discuss the results in the cabinet and parliament.
Coalition partner Diederik Samsom of the VVD expressed similar sentiments to the broadcaster. "I had hoped for something else, but I congratulate the 'no' camp. If the turnout remains, the no-vote must be respected. What now needs to be concretely done is complicated. The Cabinet has to think long about this."
The association agreement with the Ukraine was set to take effect on January 1st, but the EU needs all 28 Member States to ratify the agreement before it can be implemented. The Netherlands is the only one not to do so yet.