EU-Ukraine Association Agreement referendum gets green light

A total of 427,939 valid declarations of support were submitted for the organisation of a referendum on the Association Agreement with the Ukraine. The referendum will be held within six months, or so the Electoral Council announced in its open session of 14 October.

Image: ©Electoral Council / Phil Nijhuis
Polling booth and ballot box

Ever since the Advisory Referendum Act entered into force in July of this year, almost all Acts by Parliament adopted and Treaties ratified by Parliament are 'subject to a referendum'. This means that requests may be submitted to hold a referendum on those Acts/Treaties. The request to hold a referendum on this Association Agreement is the first one to have garnered sufficient support in both the introductory phase (no less than 10,000 valid submissions) and the definitive phase (no less than 300,000 valid submissions).

Declarations of support

A total of 472,849 declarations in support of a referendum on the Association Agreement were submitted within the span of six weeks. 577 of these declarations were found to be invalid, as they were not submitted within the set term or using the official form. A random sample of 4,112 declarations was investigated to determine that 90.6% of the declarations were valid. This sample was taken in accordance with the Advisory Referendum Act. This means that, in total, 961 declarations were declared to be invalid.

Referendum committee

The recently formed Referendum committee will shortly announce when the referendum is to take place. As the referendum cannot be combined with regular elections, the referendum will be organised wholly independently, even if the procedure is largely the same as applies to regular elections. The Electoral Council will serve as the central electoral committee for the referendum and in this capacity determine the final results.

Advisory referendum

A voter turnout of at least 30% of all persons entitled to cast a vote will force the government to reconsider the Agreement. The referendum results provide an opinion and are not binding. Abrogation nor adoption can be enforced: that is only possible in the case of a corrective referendum. Both Houses of Parliament have agreed to the implementation of a corrective referendum, but such implementation requires an amendment to the Constitution.