Referendum on the Intelligence and Security Services Act gets green light

There will be a referendum on the Intelligence and Security Services Act (hereinafter: the Act). Based on a random sample, the Electoral Council considered 384,126 requests for holding a referendum on the Act to be valid. The referendum will be held within six months, or so the Electoral Council announced in its open session of Wednesday 1 November.

Image: ©Dutch Electoral Council / Martijn Beekman

Ever since the Advisory Referendum Act entered into force in 2015, almost all acts adopted and treaties ratified by Parliament are 'subject to a referendum'. This means that persons entitled to vote may submit requests to hold a referendum on those acts/treaties. After the Ukraine Association Agreement, this is the second time that sufficient support is obtained in both the introductory phase (no less than 10,000 valid requests) and the definitive phase (no less than 300,000 valid requests).

Declarations of support

A total of 417,354 declarations in support of a referendum on the Act were submitted within the span of six weeks. 219 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 4,107 requests was investigated to determine that 92,09% of all remaining requests were valid. When this percentage is applied to the total number of requests, this means that a total of 384,126 valid requests were submitted.

Referendum Committee

The Referendum Committee will soon announce the date on which the referendum will be held. The referendum will probably be combined with the municipal council elections of 21 March 2018. The Electoral Council will serve as the central electoral committee for the referendum and will determine the final results.

Advisory referendum

A voter turnout of at least 30% of all persons entitled to vote will force the government to reconsider the Act. The referendum results provide an opinion and are not binding. Abrogation or adoption of the Act cannot be enforced.