Uncertainty about Bonaire referendum

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A referendum about the future of the Dutch Antilles island of Bonaire planned on 26 March may not go ahead.

The lieutenant governor of Bonaire, G A E Thodé has asked the governor of the Dutch Antilles, Frits Goedgedrag, to cancel the referendum.

According to Mr Thodé, the referendum contravenes international law. For instance Dutch nationals who came to the island after 2006 are not allowed to vote.

The referendum has led to a row in Bonaire’s council. The United Nations had advised Bonaire only to go ahead with the poll if there was consensus.

Mr Goedgedrag has 30 days to decide whether or not to grant the lieutenant general's exceptional request.

The Dutch Antilles is due to be disbanded on 10 October 2010. Bonaire, Saba and Sint Eustatius will become municipalities of the Netherlands, while islands of Curacao and Sint Maarten will become independent states within the Kingdom of the Netherlands.

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