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Ukrainian opposition says failure at Dutch referendum flagging Kiev government

A total failure at Wednesday's referendum in the Netherlands on whether or not the Dutch government should ratify an Association Agreement between the EU and Ukraine signals a discouraging assessment of the Ukrainian government's activity, Alexander Vilkul, a leader of the Opposition Bloc party said on Wednesday in a reaction to the outcome of the plebiscite where more than 60% ballots had been cast against the Association Agreement.

"A flop at the referendum in the Netherlands means an assessment of our authorities' performance," the party press service quoted him as saying.

"This is a cold shower on the heads of Ukrainian politicians who believe that loud shouting and wild hopping is more important than efficient work," Vilkul said. "This is an assessment to those who think that no one will notice inordinate corruption, thieving and destruction of the economy if the word 'Europe' is squeezed into every sentence and the 'Glory to Ukraine' clarion, into every passage."

He expressed the hope that Ukraine was already re-emerging from the stupefying fumes of the previous two years and that it would be guided by what he called "pragmatic Ukrainian interests."

"Our national interests imply consolidation of the country, an end to the war [the armed civil conflict in eastern Ukraine - TASS], a nonaligned status, and neutrality.

In the referendum that was held in the Netherlands on Wednesday, the voters were asked if they favored the Association Agreement between the EU and Ukraine. Returns upon the processing of 43% votes suggested that 61% voters had answered it in the negative.

The reported turnout of voters was 32% but the figure was inconclusive, as a 3% technical error was not ruled out.

In the meantime, the Dutch Prime Minister, Mark Rutte said the government might turn down the Association Agreement if the referendum was deemed valid.

"It's clear that 'No' have won by an overwhelming margin, the question is only if turnout is sufficient," Rutte said."If the turnout is above 30% with such a large margin of victory for the 'No' camp then my sense is that ratification can't simply go ahead."

[Source: Itar Tass, Kiev, 06Apr16]

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