Population New Zealand opts in referendum for legalization of euthanasia

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In a binding referendum, the people of New Zealand have chosen to make euthanasia legal under the law. Not all votes have yet been counted from the referendum that was held in mid-October, but the lead of more than 65 percent can no longer be recovered, the electoral committee said on Friday.

The law, which will take effect in November 2021, will allow terminal patients aged 18 or older who have less than six months to live, to choose to end their life. For this they do need the permission of two doctors.

New Zealand thus joins a select number of countries where euthanasia is legal, including the Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg, Canada and the western part of Australia.

The Euthanasia Act had the support of New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and opposition leader Judith Collins.

The referendum was held on October 17, the day the residents could elect a new parliament and Ardern’s Labor Party won a resounding victory.

Another question that voters could consider through a referendum was the legalization of cannabis. According to the provisional count, 53 percent voted against, but this result could still turn when counting the almost half a million votes, mainly from abroad.

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