Coalition retains majority in senate
8 March 2007, AMSTERDAM – The coalition parties managed to hold on to their majority in the senate, despite a loss for the Labour PvdA and Christian democrat CDA in yesterday's elections for the provincial states.
8 March 2007
AMSTERDAM – The coalition parties managed to hold on to their majority in the senate, despite a loss for the Labour PvdA and Christian democrat CDA in yesterday's elections for the provincial states.
Thanks to a gain of two seats for the ChristenUnie, the government coalition can count on 41 of the 75 seats in the new senate.
As in the general elections in November, the big winner in Thursday's elections was the Socialist Party (SP). Jan Marijnissen's party has tripled the number of seats it will hold in the senate, from 4 to 12 seats. After its debut in the lower house of Parliament in November last year, the Party for the Animals has also secured a seat in the senate now.
CDA Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende was delighted on Thursday that the government coalition can continue to rest on adequate support in the upper house of Parliament. Deputy Prime Minister Wouter Bos (PvdA) also sounded relieved.
But the PvdA leader was nonetheless extremely disappointed at his party's loss of four seats in the senate. "Fewer people in the provincial parliaments, that's just bloody awful. Though it could have turned out much worse if you saw the prognoses from last week."
Deputy Prime Minister Andre Rouvoet (ChristenUnie) said his party's gain was largely due to the voters' appreciation for the responsibility his party has shown in the government formation process.
Over the past weeks the SP and Liberal VVD have threatened to form a monstrous alliance in the senate and torpedo parts of the coalition accord. If the coalition had lost its majority in the senate, the compromise on the financing of the general old age pension (AOW) – and other measures - could have been blocked.
Geert Wilders' Party for Freedom did not take part in the provincial states elections. It was mainly the VVD that profited as a result. "Rutte should be glad I saved him," Wilders said.
"The left-wing grew stronger in the senate and that is good news," said Green-left GroenLinks leader Halsema.
564 new members of the provincial parliaments were elected on Thursday. On 29 May these members will select the representatives to the senate. At 46.3 percent, turnout was slightly lower than in the last provincial elections.
[Copyright Expatica News + ANP 2007]
Subject: Dutch news