In the provinces of Groningen, Friesland and Drenthe, the majority of voters who cast ballots on Wednesday opposed the law to give intelligence and security services sweeping new powers (also known as the dragnet law).
According to the Leeuwarder Courant, in nearly every municipality where the vote count has been completed in Friesland and Groningen, the majority of ballots were against the new law. The results are closer in Drenthe, but as of Thursday morning, 48.2 percent of counted votes were “against” and 47.7 percent were “for”.
In Leeuwarden, the majority (62.3 percent) of voters opposed the law. Súdwest-Fryslân (53.9 percent), Dongeradeel (53.7 percent) and Waadhoeke (53 percent) also voted against the law, all of whom held their council elections last year.
Dagblad van het Noorden reports that, on average, the municipalities in Groningen were 60 percent against the law and 40 percent in favour. That is a higher percentage than the rest of the Netherlands (55 percent). In the city of Groningen itself, 70.8 percent of voters opposed the law.
Although it initially looked as though Drenthe would go “for” the law, RTV Drenthe reports that a small majority against the law has emerged in the province overnight. Most of the votes against the law came from the northern municipalities, Meppel and Emmen.
Due to municipality mergers that are still in progress, several municipalities in both provinces held a referendum vote on the law but no municipal council voting. Voter turnout in the 13 Groningen municipalities only voting on the referendum was no lower than the national average.
A referendum in the Netherlands is only valid if at least 30 percent of voters turn out, which they did on Wednesday.