THE NETHERLANDS – With voting over in the provincial elections, the first two exit polls show, as predicted, big wins for the right-wing nationalist Forum voor Democratie. In Zuid-Holland, which includes Rotterdam and The Hague, FvD would be the biggest party with 10 seats on the provincial council, one more than the VVD.
Support for Geert Wilders anti-Islam PVV has plunged in the province, from eight to four seats. All four coalition parties lost support, particularly D66 and the CDA, but GroenLinks, Denk and the pro-animal PvdD all made gains.
The exit poll has a margin of error of one seat, broadcaster NOS said. In Noord-Brabant, a rural province where much of the Netherlands’ pig industry is concentrated, turnout was up from 43% in 2015 to 50% this year. According to the NOS opinion poll, the VVD would retain its leading position with 10 seats and Forum would be on a par with the CDA with eight seats on the provincial council.
The PVV would lose three of its seven seats. The results in the provincial elections point the way to changes in the senate in May. The 570 members of the 12 provincial councils will then go elect the 75 members of the senate who will have a key role in passing legislation. Without a majority, the government will be forced to build alliances with opposition parties to get controversial legislation through parliament.