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Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Dutch reject EU constitution

CNN.com :

Voters in the Netherlands soundly rejected the proposed European Union constitution Wednesday, three days after France gave it a thumbs-down. Both countries are founding members of the bloc. Their rejection of the charter is seen as a blow to the 25-nation union. Its leaders now have to deal with what steps to take next -- or whether the concept of the EU even has a future at all. An exit poll by Dutch NOS Television, the umbrella organization for the public broadcasting networks, showed 63 percent of the country's voters rejected the constitution, while 37 percent supported it. The issue drew a turnout of 65 percent, exceeding all expectations. 'The Dutch people have spoken tonight,' Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende was quoted by the Associated Press as saying. 'It is a clear result. Naturally I am very disappointed.' Balkenende and 80 percent of members of the Dutch parliament supported ratification.
The result is unsurprising, but the percentage against was a little higher than expected and the turnout was astounding. It will be interesting to see how things develop as a result of this. The Dutch parliament seems hugely out of step with the Dutch people. I don't know if this is a isolated issue for which this is true, or reflects a more widespread difference between the rulers and the people. This bit from the end of the article is food for thought though:
In addition, some analysts said the recent murders of filmmaker Theo Van Gogh by a suspected Islamic militant and of populist politician Pim Fortuyn have challenged the once liberal Dutch. Analysts say the public, now threatened and more conservative, is poised to rebel.

2 Comments:

Blogger Andrew Watkins said...

I think this is a bigger deal than is being made in the press (here at home, anyway, I'm reading more of the IHT and the BBC World Service than anything else). In my humble view, from what I've read this is a flashpoint, a benchmark of the public's stance on issues. Not just the Dutch, but the Brits, the French, etc...it seems like there's a wide disconnect between the European governing elite and everyone else.

6/02/2005 04:41:00 PM  
Blogger Dave Justus said...

I've been hearing that a lot of the leadership in Europe is out of step with the people for quite a while now.

It will be interesting to see if anything changes or not because of these votes.

6/03/2005 08:57:00 AM  

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