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Meer Democratie Netherlands to sue Minister over Abolition of the Dutch Referendum

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Save the Dutch Referendum

Meer Democratie Netherlands to sue Minister over Abolition of the Dutch Referendum

30-01-2018

Meer Democratie, our Dutch partner organisation, is starting a legal case against Dutch Minister of Interior Ollongren for her attempts to block a referendum on the imminent abolition of the Consultative Referendum Act. On Thursday, February 1 at 2pm on Thursday, the case will be submitted to the Council of State (Division Administrative Jurisdiction), Kneuterdijk 22, The Hague. The session will be public. Read their press release on the case here.

“Meer Democratie fights for the preservation of the referendum. Since this is an acquired democratic right of the people, we believe that the people should also be able to express their opinion on whether or not the referendum should be abolished: A referendum on the abolition of the referendum. Minister Kajsa Ollongren is trying to block such a referendum with legal tricks that are unworthy of a Minister and contrary to the law. That is what we want to confront with this case. Even the Minister must comply with the law," says Niesco Dubbelboer, spokesperson for Meer Democratie.

Legal background

Dubbelboer: "A referendum on the abolition of the referendum is legally possible. However, the government wants to prevent such a referendum from taking place. In the repeal law that Minister Ollongren submitted to the House of Representatives on 20 December, she stated that the Act on the Consultative Referendum does not apply to the Repeal Law. But this has no legal effect, because a referendum on the Repeal Law logically has to be requested before the Repeal Law has entered into force. Therefore, at the time a referendum on the Repeal Law is requested, the stipulation of that law on a consultative referendum has not yet entered into force either.

In order to counter this, Minister Ollongren has come up with a second trick: she wants the Repeal Law to enter into force retroactively. This way, she can escape her legal obligation, under the Act on Consultative Referendums, to decide on the possibility of holding a referendum on the Repeal Law before it enters into force. Based on the current law, her decision can only be that it is legally allowed to have a referendum on the Repeal Law. However, the Minister has stated that she does not intend to make that decision. By making this law retroactive, our access to justice is also illegally restricted, this is contrary to the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR).”

Meer Democratie is assisted by lawyer Jan van der Grinten of the Kennedy Van der Laan office in Amsterdam.

Meer Democratie has started a petition against the abolition of the referendum, you can sign it here.

 

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