Institutional Affairs

Polls point to a strong Dutch No

31.05.05 @ 08:57

  1. By Mark Beunderman

One day before the referendum on the EU Constitution in the Netherlands, pollsters estimate the Dutch "Nee" to be even more resounding than the French "Non".

  • Dutch and French flags -"Nee" following "Non"? (Photo: EUobserver.com)

Opinion polls released on Monday (30 June) indicated that the Dutch are likely to reject the EU Charter by around 60 percent in tomorrow’s first ever nation-wide referendum in Dutch history.

A TNS NIPO poll for RTL television predicted opposition to the text to lie at 58 per cent, while 42 per cent would vote in favour.

A survey by the country’s main election researcher Maurice de Hond indicated a share of 59 per cent of the Dutch set to vote "Nee".

One poll by the current affairs TV programme Twee Vandaag even estimated the No to lie at 65 per cent.

The French No to the Charter, which emerged after a historic referendum last Sunday, has boosted the Dutch No camp, Mr de Hond stated in a press release.

"The recent momentum of the Yes camp has been brought to a halt by the result in France", Mr de Hond said.

Over the past week, the Yes campaign had gained some ground, but following the French "non", supporters of the constitution are now less likely to go to the polls, according to the pollster’s findings.

Turnout is expected to be significantly lower in the Netherlands than in France, at around 50 per cent.

However, this is far above the turnout threshold of 30 per cent, named by political parties in the Dutch parliament as a condition for the Parliament to adopt the result.

The Dutch referendum is non-binding, meaning that the Dutch parliament has the final say on ratification of the Constitution.

Stronger through a Yes?

The Dutch prime Minister, Jan Peter Balkenende, who is being blamed for a failed "Yes" campaign conducted by his cabinet, appealed to voters on Monday to endorse the treaty in spite of the French No.

Mr Balkenende said that Dutch interests in the EU were better safeguarded by a "yes", especially in view of the upcoming talks on the EU budget.

"These will be tough talks. With a "yes" you stand much stronger", the prime minister said.

But half of the Dutch think that after the French Non, the Netherlands’s general position in EU negotiations will be better served by a "no", according to Mr de Hond’s survey.