Polling stations open in Dutch provincial elections

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Polling stations across the Netherlands opened their doors at 0730 local time 0630GMT on Wednesday for voters in the provincial elections.

In the northern city of Leeuwarden, more than 200 voters cast their ballots at a mobile polling booth which had 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 CS and Utrecht CS. All polling booths will close at 2100 tonight.

The provincial elections are important because the provincial legislators on 23 May 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 may lead to a higher-than-usual turnout.  



© Radio Netherlands Worldwide

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