Dutch disease

Referendums are sometimes touted as the highest form of democracy. But a Dutch one that just rejected closer politics and economic ties between the European Union (EU) and Ukraine shows plebiscites have drawbacks.

First, they can fall victim to voter apathy. Only 32 per cent bothered to vote in the Netherlands on April 6, barely above the 30 per cent turnout minimum required for the vote to be valid. When turnout is low, referendum results lie in the hands of those who have trenchant views, and who tend to find it easier to mobilise die-hard.....

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