Netherlands

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Question Value
Legal provisions for mandatory referendums at national level
  • No
Legal provisions for optional referendums at national level
  • Yes
Legal provisions for citizens' initiatives at national level
  • No
Legal provisions for agenda initiatives at national level
  • Yes
Legal provisions for recall at national level
  • No
Legal provisions for direct democracy at the regional level
  • Optional referendum
Legal provisions for direct democracy at the local level
  • Optional referendum
  • Agenda initiative
Legal basis for direct democracy at the national level
  • Specific laws/legislation
  • Regulations
Legal basis for administrative requirements at the national level
  • Specific laws/legislation
  • Regulations
Who administers direct democracy mechanisms at the national level?
  • Independent electoral commission
  • Legislature
First referendum/initiative held
  • 2005
Has there been a national referendum since 1980?
  • Yes

Question Value
Issues in relation to which referendums are mandatory at the national level
  • None
Issues in relation to which referendums are optional at the national level
  • Adoption of international treaties
  • Any issue of national importance, except those excluded
Issues excluded from being the subject of referendums at the national level
  • Constitutional amendments
  • Budgetary issues, and issue related to Royal Family
Issues of sub-national referendums regulated at the national level
    Who can initiate an optional referendum at the national level?
    • Registered electors
    Who drafts the referendum question?
    • Not specified by legislation
    Who decides on the final form of the ballot text?
    • Not specified by legislation
    Quorum requirements for a referendum to be valid
    • Optional referendum - turnout quorum
    Requirements for a referendum to pass
    • Optional referendum - simple majority
    Are referendum results binding?
    • Optional referendum - never

    Question Value
    Issues that can be proposed by citizens using the initiative process at the national level
    • Agenda initiatives - legislative proposals
    • Agenda initiatives - other issues
    Issues excluded from being the subject of an initiative at the national level
    • Constitutional amendments
    • Devolution
    • Civil service
    • Taxes and public expenditure commitments
    • Any issue which has been discussed in the House within the past two years, unless fundamentally new facts or circumstances warrant reconsideration
    Who may propose the registration of an initiative?
    • Agenda initiative - a number of individuals
    Materials to accompany an application for registration
    • General explanation of the purpose
    Who determines the title of an initiative?
    • Not specified by legislation
    What disqualifies a proposed title of an initiative?
    • Not specified by legislation
    Who is responsible for checking the legality of initiatives?
    • Legislature
    At which stage legality check is conducted?
    • After its registration, before the collection of signatures
    Who decides the final ballot text when the initiative is put to a vote?
      When does voting take place once an initiative is qualified for ballot?

        Question Value
        Which individuals/positions may be subject to the recall?
          What are the grounds for recall?
            What restrictions are there in relation to the time period in which an individual or position can be recalled?
              When is the recall put to the vote?
                When does the election to replace an individual who has been recalled take place?
                  Can an individual who is the subject of a recall stand on the ballot for his/her own replacement?

                    Question Value
                    How many signatures are required to start the formal decision making stage of a direct democracy mechanism?
                    • Agenda Initiative - fixed number
                    What is the deadline for collecting required number of signatures?
                    • Agenda Initiative - signatures are collected before submission
                    Restrictions in relation to the individuals who can sign the proposal
                    • Agenda Initiative - signatories must be registered
                    Where can proposals be signed?
                    • Anywhere
                    What information must signatories provide when signing the proposal?
                    • Personal details
                    Restrictions in relation to signature collection
                    • Not specified by legislation
                    What forms of checks are undertaken to verify signatures?
                    • Sample of signatures are checked
                    Who checks the signatures?
                    • Agency responsible for the administration of direct democracy mechanisms