domingo, maio 22, 2005


Há quem não tenha dado por isso, mas dia 1 há outro referendo sobre a Constituição Europeia, na Holanda. Não falei nisso porque não tenho acesso directo aos dados de sondagens, mas...

Three days after French referendum, Dutch could also reject EU constitution
The outcome of the Dutch referendum on the European Union constitution is just as uncertain as the outcome of the French vote three days earlier with voters using the referendum to show their discontent with their government, the euro and the EU's expansion.
Although initial polls showed the 'yes' in the lead since one month the different surveys have showed that the Netherlands, one of the founding members of the European Union, could vote against the EU constitution in the consultative referendum set for June 1.
This weekend, two new polls showed the 'no' campaign ahead. An Internet survey of 2,500 people by well known pollster Maurice the Hond found that among voters who had already made up their minds 60 percent planned to vote against the EU constitution, while 40 percent said they would vote in favor.
Another poll by the NSS-Interview institute released late Friday found 63 percent of those surveyed were against the treaty, while 37 percent were in the 'yes' camp.
After a slow and uninspired start of the campaign the Dutch government is now pulling out all the stops to try to reverse the negative trend.
Recalling the Holocaust and World War II Dutch Christian Democrat Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende told voters that the constitution was the way to peace and preserving civilisation.
Justice Minister Piet Hein Donner warned of "Balkanisation", referring to the bloody wars in the former Yugoslavia, if the Dutch said no while Foreign Affairs Minister Ben Bot warned that a 'no' vote would have disastrous results for the Dutch economy.
Dutch Deputy Minister for European Affairs Atzo Nicolai suddenly set aside an additional 3.5 million euros to send out government flyers and make television commercials encouraging people to vote yes.
"The government is very motivated, we are in the final phase and we will do what we can to get the 'yes'," Balkenende said Friday just ten days before the referendum.
It is unclear if this sudden surge in the government's yes campaign can reverse the tide in the Netherlands. The referendum is the first ever national referendum in Dutch modern history and many Dutch voters see it as an opportunity to show their discontent with the European Union in general, their worries about Islam and the accession of Turkey to the European Union and their opposition to the current centre-right government.
Approval for Balkenende's government is a dismal 19 percent. A survey published Wednesday showed that one in four people who planned to vote 'no' explained their decision as a general defiance against the government.
More than half, 52.3 percent, of the 'no' camp in the survey of 1,338 people commissioned by Dutch news agency GPD, said they wanted to block Turkey's EU bid. Also 55 percent questioned said they would vote no because they want to protest the introduction of the euro and the following widely perceived price hikes.
"The fear of the different and the unknown play an important role" in the Dutch 'no' camp, Johan Huizinga, a political analyst for Radio Netherlands, told AFP.
The Dutch fear that the text of the constitution could touch the Dutch so-called sacred cows such as same-sex marriages, legal euthanasia and the decriminalization of cannabis.
In an interview published Friday Balkenende tried to allay the fears of the voters.
"Subjects such as soft drugs, euthanasia and abortion will remain national issues, nothing is dictated by Brussels," he told De Volkskrant newspaper.
Despite the polls showing the 'no' voters in the lead Balkenende says he remains optimistic.
"I'm putting my money on the 'yes' vote," he said.
The Dutch referendum is non-binding but the main political parties have said they will take it into account when the text comes up for parliamentary approval if the turn-out is over 30 percent.

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