Voting underway in Dutch provincial elections
Polling stations across the Netherlands opened their doors at 07:30 local time 06:30 UTC on Wednesday for voters in the provincial elections. By mid-afternoon the turnout was already clearly higher than for the last provincial elections in 2007.
The provincial elections are important because, on 23 May, the provincial legislators will choose the members of the upper house of parliament. The right-wing minority government hopes to consolidate its position by winning a majority in the Senate. If it fails to do so, the Senate would be in a position to block all government legislation.
Turnout in the provincial elections has been declining for years. In 2007, turnout was at a meagre 46.3 percent. However, the high stakes in this year’s elections are expected to produce a break with this trend. In the northern city of Leeuwarden, more than 200 voters cast their ballots at a mobile polling booth which opened its doors at midnight in an attempt to attract young voters on a night on the town.
Polling booths have also been set up at 50 railway stations. Elections officials report that large numbers of commuters are queuing up to cast their ballots at Amsterdam Central Station and Utrecht Central Station. All polling booths will close at 21:00 tonight.
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