Thursday, March 8, 2007

Dutch Provincial Elections

The elections were yesterday, March 7. I like to follow news about them. I have a strange family. Two of my cousins have been involved in local and provincial politics, but on opposite sides. One has been a VVD (conservative) member of her town council. Her sister has been the PVdA (Labour) party representive for her town in the Utrecht provincial council. And a distant relative (by marriage) was mayor of the fourth largest city in The Netherlands. So, maybe it's in my genes to be active in politics, too.

Radio Netherlands Wereldomroep - The biggest winner in the vote, however, was the left-wing Socialist Party (SP) which built on its success in the general elections in November 2006, where it almost tripled its number of seats in the lower house of parliament.
Turnout was a near record low for the vote at just over 46 percent. This added to the uncertainty and tension for the government parties. The vote itself was for the provincial layer of government, which sits between the central government and the local municipalities.

Martin Wisse - Now what makes this provincial election special is that there is a real chance that, for the first time in parliamentary history, the governmental parties may lose their majority in the Eerste Kamer [Senate]. If this happens, it may indeed turn into a roadblock for the government's plans. Of course, even with a majority, the opposition first needs to be united to stop such plans and with the rightwing VVD and the leftwing SP as the largest opposition parties, that may be difficult.

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