Bonaire referendum postponed again

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A referendum on the political future of Bonaire, planned for 3 September, has been postponed indefinitely. The decision was taken by the island’s governing council on Friday afternoon.

The referendum commission had requested a postponement until 1 October, to provide more time to inform the public about the poll. But when, or even whether, it will now be held is unclear. A referendum planned for March of this year also never took place.

On 10 October 2010, the Netherlands Antilles, of which Bonaire is the main island in a five-island group off the coast of South America, will be dissolved as a single political entity. The islands of Curaçao and Sint Maarten will become independent countries within the Kingdom of the Netherlands. The islands of Bonaire, Saba and Sint Eustatius will become ‘special councils’ of the Netherlands.

But on Bonaire itself there is considerable resistance to the consequences of integration within the Netherlands. In particular, many object to the Dutch legalisation of abortion, euthanasia and same-sex marriage.

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