Antilleans and Arubans may vote for euro parliament

Antillean- and Aruban Dutch citizens may vote for the European Parliament next year. The Lower House had a debate with state secretary Ank Bijleveld-Schouten (Kingdom Relations, CDA) this morning on the bill to give Antillean- and Aruban Dutch citizens voting rights for Europe. A vast majority in Parliament support this bill that will be voted on next week.

Question is, are there many Arubans and Antilleans that want to use their voting right? About 15 percent of enfranchised citizens showed up in the French overseas territories in 2004, said Bijleveld. Parliament member Ronald van Raak (SP) is in favour of promoting the turnout, but he doesn’t want a ‘pro-EU’ campaign. Bijleveld decides on a pragmatic solution by giving all Dutch citizens that live outside the Netherlands, the right to vote for the European Parliament.
Jan Schinkelshoek (CDA), Paul Kalma (PvdA), Ronald van Raak (SP), and Kees van der Staaij (SGP) praise her for that. Laetitia Griffith (VVD) is of the opinion that only people with a certain tie with the Netherlands may actually vote, like people that left the Netherlands a maximum of 10 years ago.
Bijleveld does not agree with that, also due to the administrative burden involved.
Only Hero Brinkman (PVV) is against the electoral suffrage. He says that it is ridiculous. He wants to make these islands independent as soon as possible.
Dutch citizens in the Antilles and Aruba will have to use the same voting method for the European Parliament as other Dutch citizens outside the Netherlands: they have to register and cast an absentee ballot.
Van Raak and Brinkman pointed out the high costs of this voting procedure. Absentee voting is expensive, but internet voting is much more expensive, said Bijleveld.
Amigoe already reported earlier this week that there is a majority in the standing parliament committee for Homeland Affairs and Kingdom Relations in favour of amending the Electoral Law. Contrary to Dutch citizens in other countries, Dutch citizens in the Antilles and Aruba cannot vote for the European Parliament at this moment. With this bill, the Dutch cabinet puts an end to this unequal treatment.
(Source: Amigoe)

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