Edit 2018-08-28: The law in question has been retracted as of 2018-07-10, so this question is now of historical interest only.

In The Netherlands, the Wet Raadgevend Referendum (Law Advisory Referendum) states that if 300,000 valid signatures are collected, a law that was recently passed (but has not taken force) can be subject to an advisory corrective referendum. It appears that the Wet op de inlichtingen- en veiligheidsdiensten (Law on secret services) may soon be subject to such a corrective referendum, as the preliminary signature count is now at 346,000 and signatures are still being collected until 16 October. On 10 October, the new government (which commands a small majority in the Tweede Kamer) presented its regeerakkoord in which they state (page 6), Van het willekeurig en massaal verzamelen van gegevens van burgers in Nederland of het buitenland (‘sleepnet’) kan, mag en zal geen sprake zijn., essentially proposing to get rid of the core controversial clause in the Wet op de inlichtingen- en veiligheidsdiensten.

Assuming that the signatures are declared valid and an advisory referendum is scheduled: in this case, can the Tweede Kamer (Lower House), or anyone else, amend or repeal the law before the referendum is held? Would this lead to the referendum being cancelled? Or is the law on hold in any case, and must they await the result of the referendum before they can decide on what to do?


1 Answer 1


By omission, yes: there was nothing that would have stopped such a repeal.

To make it slightly more complex : the repeal of the law itself could have been subject to a second referendum, because the repeal would formally not have been the result of the first referendum. Article 5 defined which laws are subject to referenda, and 5g exempted repeal laws if the repeal was due to a referendum passing.

  • Regarding your second paragraph, are laws repealed by writing a law? If not, how could the repeal be the subject of a referendum?
    – JJJ
    Commented Aug 29, 2018 at 18:41
  • 1
    @JJJ: Yes, by a law in formal sense (wet in formele zin). A law in formal sense follows the ordinary process, but the result is not your traditional legal obligation. E.g. the annual budget is typically also a law in formal sense.
    – MSalters
    Commented Aug 30, 2018 at 7:13

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