On March 20, 2019, the provincial elections took place in the Netherlands; 56% of eligible voters went to the polls and voted for 12 provincial councils, which are in turn responsible for electing the Senate later this year. These elections were considered critical for the majority of the current coalition parties, including VVD (Liberal Conservatives) of Prime Minister Rutte.
The most remarkable results is the huge win of Forum for Democracy (FvD), a right-wing and Eurosceptic party led by Thierry Baudet. Where FvD gained two seats in the lower house in 2017, according to the most recent exit-polls they are set to become the biggest party in Senate (14,4). Although most polls put them at 8 seats in Senate (which would already have been an incredible achievement), they are now set to gain 12 seats. FvD is known for its scepticism, regarding the EU (pro-Nexit) and climate change.
The current coalition government is likely to lose its majority in Senate; the VVC will lose just one seat but is coalition partners CDS (Christian Democrats) and D66 (Liberal Democrats) are also set to lose seats (CDA from 12 to 9 seats and D66 from 10 to 6 seats). Coalition partner Christian Union (CU) is set to gain one seat, from 3 to 4. This shift in balance for the coalition means it might be harder to pass bills in Senate and there are only two parties big enough to help them reach majorities – Forum for Democracy and GroenLinks (Green Left).
The provincial councils will elect the Senate on 27 May this year and the new senators are to be installed on June 11. After the European elections in May this year, the next elections concern the lower house – in 2021.