Last week, the Dutch society-driven political movement GeenPeil started its own political party, promising its members direct democracy through what it calls representative parliamentary system.
The GeenPeil movement gained international notoriety last year when it called for a referendum on the Dutch ratification of the Ukraine-European Union Association Agreement. Despite an uncooperative political establishment [1, 2, 3, 4, 5], GeenPeil managed to get the public support required for a valid advisory referendum, which took place last spring. The outcome, a 61 percent no vote, has resulted in a stream of political pressure and negative publicity for the current Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte, who hopes to retain his position after the parliamentary elections in March.
On the one hand, the GeenPeil initiative is one of the outcomes of a growing dissatisfaction with the traditional political establishment in the Netherlands, as are the expected electoral gains of Geert Wilders' populist Party for Freedom (PVV) and the birth of several other political initiatives [1, 2]. On the other, it is a consequence of an increased visibility of the political theatre, as well as a society-driven political innovation bringing more transparency and enabling participation.
Piet Hein Donner, Vice-President of the Council of State, called the GeenPeil initiative
the end of the democratic constitutional state.
Decisions taken in this way will be dominated by activists and radicals. They can, in the long term, lead to large costs and great harm to the whole of society. Earlier this year, Donner said the same thing about referenda, calling these unconstitutional and a threat to democracy.