Interior minister: Signatures that triggered Dutch referendum were not verified
Poll organizers say signatures were collected ‘in an honest way.’
The Dutch government cannot guarantee the authenticity of more than 400,000 signatures on a petition that triggered a referendum on an EU-Ukraine deal, local media reported Thursday.
“It cannot be established with certainty that the requests [signatures] have been submitted by several individuals,” Interior Minister Ronald Plasterk said in response to a freedom of information request.
The identity of the people who signed the petition was only verified by checking names against the electorate register. But the government did not check if those people actually signed, Plasterk said.
Bart Nijman, one of the initiators of the referendum, said the signatures were collected in an “honest way” and stressed there was no evidence of fraud.
It’s not possible to retroactively check the signatures as they have been destroyed and the result of the referendum is irrevocable, according to the media report.