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2010 Bonaire constitutional referendum

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A constitutional referendum was held in Bonaire on 17 December 2010. The new constitution would make the island a municipality within the Netherlands. Although the results showed 87% had voted against the new status,[1] the referendum had required a 51% turnout and was subsequently declared invalid as the actual turnout was only 35%.[2]


The Netherlands Antilles was scheduled to cease to exist on 10 October 2010.[3] Under the current terms of the dissolution of the Netherlands Antilles, Bonaire will become a fully integrated municipality within the Kingdom of the Netherlands.[4] This may be changed should voters choose to become an associated state within the Netherlands instead.[5]

The referendum was called after a government changeover from the Bonaire Patriotic Union (UPB), led by Ramonsito Booi, to the Bonaire Democratic Alliance (ADB), led by Jopie Abraham. The referendum was a key point of contention between the two parties.[6] The succession was triggered by the departure of Anthony Nicolaas from the ruling coalition, an act which is being investigated as being a result of corruption.[7]

The enabling legislation decided that the referendum should be worded "Ik wil dat Bonaire een rechtstreekse band met Nederland zal hebben in de vorm van A. Associatie (Bonaire krijgt een eigenstandige positie binnen het Koninkrijk) of B. Integratie (Bonaire wordt deel van Nederland)"[8] (I desire that Bonaire shall have a direct tie with the Netherlands in the form of A: Association (Bonaire holds an independent position inside the Kingdom) or B: Integration (Bonaire becomes a part of the Netherlands)).

The set date for the referendum was originally set as 15 January 2010, exactly one week before the Netherlands Antilles general election.[5] The date was chosen so it would not conflict with the general election.[5] Other dates originally considered for the referendum were 11 December 2009, and 19 March 2010.[5] The referendum did not take place on January 15, and was rescheduled to 26 March 2010 before being cancelled.[9]

The Netherlands indicated that it would not cooperate if the referendum favors free association, stating "that the only alternative to the process of integration currently in execution was independence".[10] Previously agreed upon payments from the Kingdom to Bonaire have been placed on hold pending the outcome of the referendum.[11]


Choice Votes %
For 391 11.79
Against 2,879 86.85
Blank 45 1.36
Invalid votes 99
Total 3,414 100
Registered voters/turnout 9,698 35.20
Source: Direct Democracy


  1. ^ Bonaire, 17 December 2010: Bonaire as a municipality of the Netherlands Direct Democracy (in German)
  2. ^ "The Referendum That Wasn't" (PDF). The Bonaire Reporter. The Bonaire Reporter. 2010-12-31. Retrieved 2011-03-10.
  3. ^ "Netherlands Antilles to cease to exist as a country". Radio Netherlands Worldwide. NRC Handelsblad. 2009-10-01. Archived from the original on 2009-10-02. Retrieved 2009-10-21.
  4. ^ "Dutch Antilles go to polls". NRC Handelsblad. 2010-01-22. Retrieved 2010-01-23.
  5. ^ a b c d "Bonaire referendum week before election". Netherlands Antilles Daily Herald. 2009-10-19. Archived from the original on October 22, 2009. Retrieved 2009-10-21.
  6. ^ "Oppositie Bonaire start 'afzettingsprocedure' tegen UPB-gedeputeerden". Radio Nederland Wereldomroep. Radio Nederland Wereldomroep. 2009-10-30. Archived from the original on June 7, 2011. Retrieved 2009-06-03.
  7. ^ "Investigation ordered into Bonaire corruption report". The Daily Herald. The Daily Herald St. Maarten. 2009-10-30. Archived from the original on January 12, 2010. Retrieved 2010-01-08.
  8. ^ "Referendum over toekomst Bonaire". Sanoma Digital. 2010-01-30. Retrieved 2010-01-30.
  9. ^ "Duncan: cabinet division should be proportional". The Daily Herald. The Daily Herald St. Maarten. 2010-01-28. Retrieved 2010-01-28.[dead link]
  10. ^ "Bijleveld-Schouten says 'No' to Bonaire free association". The Daily Herald. The Daily Herald St. Maarten. 2009-10-30. Archived from the original on November 2, 2009. Retrieved 2009-11-08.
  11. ^ "Support in Dutch Parliament to cease payments to Bonaire". The Daily Herald. The Daily Herald St. Maarten. 2010-01-04. Archived from the original on January 6, 2010. Retrieved 2010-01-05.