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Article

Onafhankelijke referendumcommissies: kenmerkend voor de Nederlandse consensusdemocratie

Keywords referendum, independent referendum body, consensus democracy, local politics
Authors Philip van Praag
Author's information

Philip van Praag
Philip van Praag (°1949) is universitair hoofddocent politicologie aan de Universiteit van Amsterdam. Hij houdt zich voornamelijk bezig met politieke partijen, verkiezingscampagnes, politieke communicatie en referenda.
  • Abstract

      Since the nineties of the last century, there has been a modest rise of local referendums in the Netherlands. This article describes the important role played by independent local referendum committees, one of the most remarkable characteristics of the recent Dutch referendum experience. Their task is among others to advice about the wording of the question, to supervise the organisation of the referendum and the campaign and to handle complaints. The need to use an independent body to support the referendum process is missing in countries as Switzerland and the United States. The lack of referendum experience and the lack of confidence in Dutch local authorities forced them to introduce independent local referendum bodies. The role of these institutions fits in the traditions of the Dutch consensus democracy to engage experts to depoliticise delicate political problems.

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