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Privacy First comments on abolition referendum

Despite the successful referendum on the new Intelligence and Security Services Act, the Senate this week abolished the consultative referendum. Privacy First regrets this and expects it to further widen the existing gap between citizens and government. It will also lead to further loss of trust in national politics. This weakens our democracy and, without the corrective effect of the referendum, also our rule of law.

A national referendum is a form of internal self-determination: the collective right of a national population to determine its own democratic future. Like all human rights, this right should be constantly promoted. Moreover, a referendum is a democratic achievement that cannot simply be abolished without legitimate cause and objective justification. This is potentially in violation of international law, in particular the so-called regression prohibition: the prohibition on simply reversing democratically acquired rights of citizens. Earlier this year, Privacy First unsuccessfully petitioned the Senate and House of Representatives on this issue alerted. On occasion, Privacy First will present the rücksichtslose abolition of the consultative referendum to the United Nations and hold the Dutch government accountable for it.

Except for the former GDR, the Netherlands is now the only country in the world that has abolished the referendum after its introduction. With this, the Netherlands has historical appearances against it and, partly because of this, runs an increased risk of international criticism.

After Athens (democracy 1.0) and our current 19th-century parliamentary democracy (2.0), in Privacy First's view, it is high time for more citizen participation and democratic renewal: Shared Democracy, democracy 3.0. Like the State Commission on the Parliamentary System, Privacy First thereby advocates the introduction of a binding corrective referendum to strengthen our free democracy. Privacy First will continue to campaign for this in the coming years.