Provincial elections leave coalition short of majority
With 98 percent of the votes counted in yesterday’s provincial elections, it looks like the gains of the conservative VVD and the Freedom Party PVV are not enough to cover for the losses of the Christian Democrats CDA. As a result when the provincial delegates elect the Upper House in May, the three parties are predicted to gain 37 seats, one short of a majority.
The turnout for the elections was higher than predicted with 54.2 percent of the electorate casting their vote. There are 75 seats to be divided in the Upper House. The VVD remains the largest party compared to last year’s general election and is set to take 16 seats in the Senate. However, the VVD’s coalition partner the Christian Democrats, currently the largest party in the Senate, will be almost halved to just 11 seats. And the Freedom Party, which is propping up the minority coalition, will probably take ten seats. The Freedom Party had no seats currently in the Upper House, as it did not field candidates in 2007.
The Labour Party remains stable at 14 seats in spite of poor showings in opinion polls. The Green Left gains one seat on top of the four it already has. While the Animal Rights Party looks like it will hold on to its one seat.
Meanwhile the democrats D66 appear to have won back some of the support it lost to the Socialist Party SP last time round. D66 is likely to increase its number of seats to six, while the SP is left with just eight after it formidable gains in 2007.
The new kid on the block this time round is a party for the elderly electorate, 50Plus, which hopes it will make the difference when voting on issues like pension age. The smaller Christian parties, the Christian Union and the orthodox SGP, jointly take three seats.
Although yesterday’s election was officially to decide representation in the Netherland’s provincial governments, national issues, however, dominated the campaign. It is the provincial delegates who will vote on the Upper House on 23 May. The minority coalition needed a majority in the Senate with support from the Freedom Party to get its legislation passed. Now it looks like the coalition will be forced to make deals with the opposition.
The above predictions have been compiled by the Dutch public broadcaster NOS. However, provincial delegates are allowed to vote for other parties if that suits them strategically. So no-one will really know the make-up of the Upper House until May.http://cdn.radionetherlands.nl/data/files/images/lead/Eerste%20Kamer.jpg
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