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Home >> World
UPDATED: 08:02, May 31, 2005
Survey shows 59 percent Dutch voters against EU Constitution
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The latest opinion polls in the Netherlands show that 59 percent of Dutch voters will vote against the European Union (EU) Constitution, casting a shadow on the upcoming Dutch referendum on the charter on Wednesday.

The French rejection of the EU charter appears to be bolstering the opposition against it in the Netherlands, and the figure is two percent more than on the day before the French referendum, Radio Netherlands reported on Monday

However, right after the French "no", Dutch Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende said the French rejection is a further reason for the Dutch to vote for the charter in Wednesday's referendum.

He said the Netherlands should make an independent decision and that the country only stands to gain from a charter.

Dutch Interior Ministry spokesman Mark Boer told Xinhua over phone that the Dutch voters will start to cast ballots at 7:30 am local time on Wednesday, and a preliminary result of the referendum is expected to come out at around 11:00 pm local time during the day.

An official result issued by the Interior Ministry will be released on June 6, Boer said.

The Dutch referendum is different from the French one in that it is a non-binding one and the congress will still vote again and has the final say on the ratification.

But Boer said all political parties within the Dutch congress have agreed to "respect the public advice" if the turn out of the referendum hits 30 percent.

The Dutch Cabinet is campaigning hard for a yes vote and coalition government leaders urged the public against being influenced by the French result.

However, Dutch independent congressman Geert Wilders began a bus tour of the Netherlands in mid-May to campaign against the EU Constitution.

Wilders's tour of 22 Dutch towns and cities is taking place under strict security due to death threats made against Wilders because of his hardline views on immigration.

"It would be very bitter if two founders of the European Union vote 'no'," European Industry Commissioner Gunter Verheugen was quoted by Dutch newspaper Het Parool as saying.

Source: Xinhua

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