Dutch government party members against abolition of referendum

In this Dutch video, Ms Marie-Michèle Stokbroeks speaks. She is the leader of the ‘liberal’ D66 political party in the local council in Weert town in Limburg province. On 21 March 2018, Dutch voters voted in local elections, and in a referendum for or against the government bill enabling Big Brother-style mass spying on citizens. D66 in Weert lost two of its three local council seats. Ms Stokbroeks says in the video that the national D66 leadership caused that big loss. Before last year’s parliamentary election, having referendums was a main point for D66. The part reaffirmed that in their 2017 election platform, calling for ’embracing’ the referendum and learning from it. The party also voted against the Big Brother proposal.

However, after the parliamentary election D66 joined a new government coalition with three right-wing parties. D66 dropped its opposition to the Big Brother law. They also agreed with a proposal by the new government abolishing all referendums. That proposal would make the Netherlands the only country ever to abolish referendums, except the no longer existing German Democratic Republic.

According to Ms Stokbroeks and many other commentators, that national D66 flip-flopping was the cause of the big local election losses of D66 yesterday; not only in Weert, but also elsewhere.

Today, Dutch media report that 80 D66 members, including-ex-MP Boris van der Ham, have signed a manifesto criticizing the party leadership for abolishing the referendum (translated):

“One of the missions of D66 is to get people involved in politics and give a voice to dissatisfaction and alternative opinions”, the members write in the op-ed article. “That is why we oppose the conservative reflex that now seems fashionable. The distance between society and politics must be reduced, and more democratic participation is needed.” …

The law that made the consultative referendum possible has led to a referendum twice since its introduction in 2015: on the association agreement between the European Union and Ukraine, and on the [Big Brother] Intelligence and Security Services Act (Wiv).

In both referendums, the electorate voted No, to the chagrin of the establishment.

The Dutch Senate has not yet voted on abolishing the referendum. The government has also not yet said officially what they will do with the referendum vote rejecting the Big Brother law.

3 thoughts on “Dutch government party members against abolition of referendum

  1. Pingback: Theatre play on Google, secret police and privacy | Dear Kitty. Some blog

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