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Dutch PM withdraws motion for EU constitution approval in poll aftermath

[JURIST] Dutch Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende [Wikipedia profile] wrote to the Dutch Parliament on Thursday formally saying that his government wished to withdraw its motion calling for approval of the EU constitution. Over 62% of Dutch voters turned out Wednesday to reject the proposed EU charter [JURIST report] in a referendum by a resounding margin of 62% to 38%. The referendum was not technically binding on Parliament, but the government said before and afterward that it would respect the public's wishes. Balkenende called for politicians to begin a dialogue with the Dutch people regarding the integration of Europe. From Amsterdam, Expatica News has local coverage.

Meanwhile, the lower house of the Dutch parliament [website in Dutch with English links] held its own emergency session Thursday to review the implications of the vote and the referendum process, the first plebiscite held in the country for 200 years. Leading Dutch media outlets have already called for the resignations of prime constitution supporters, including Dutch Foreign Minister Ben Bot [official profile] and Minister for European Affairs Atzo Nicolai. The Financial Times has more.

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