Greens and local parties big winners local elections

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Exit polls show mixed results for coalition parties.


Yesterday (21 March, 2018) the Netherlands went to the polls to vote for 335 local councils. Following national elections in March last year – these elections are considered to be a first test for the current coalition parties, including VVD (Liberal Conservatives) of Prime Minister Rutte.

Following a voter turnout of 55,1%, the main conclusion is that GroenLinks (Greens) and local parties are the big winners. GroenLinks even became the biggest party in 2 main cities (Amsterdam and Utrecht) and local parties gained more than 32% of the votes.

The exit polls show a mixed result for the 4 coalition parties. Whereas CDA (Christian Democrats) became the biggest national party and VVD (Liberal Conservatives) ended second, D66 (Liberal Democrats) lost significantly and ChristenUnion (Christian Conservatives) experienced a slight loss.

On the far right side of the political spectrum, Forum voor Democratie, a national-conservative party led by Thierry Baudet, participated only in Amsterdam, where it won 5,9% of the votes. Their main rivals, the PVV / Freedom Party of Geert Wilders, participated in 30 municipalities, but did less well than expected, possibly due to the success of local populist parties.

Another remarkable result is the success of the pro-immigrant party Denk, which participated for the first time in local elections – in 12 cities – and did well in for example Rotterdam (7,2%) and Amsterdam (6,7%).

Alongside the local elections a consultative referendum on the Dutch Intelligence and Security Services Act was held. A slight majority of voters seems to be against this act (48,3% vs 47,1%) – which would provide more authorizations to monitor data and communication to the Dutch intelligence services.

The table below shows the preliminary results of the elections – compared to the results of the last national elections (March 2017). It should be taken into account that – due to the success of local parties – the results of national parties in the local elections are relatively poor compared to the national elections. In addition, as several national parties (like PVV, Forum voor Democratie and Denk) only participated in a limited number of municipalities, it doesn’t make sense to aggregate their results on a national level.

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