VVD, PvdA expect to lose big in municipal elections

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With the City Council elections ahead, on March 19, all political parties are making preparations to either win, or at least control the damage. Many of the parties fear a punishment.

The VVD and PvdA anticipate losses more than other parties, as evidenced from strategy manuals, records of proceedings, nominations, and signals from party meetings.

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Radio Nederland Wereldomroep/ Flickr

CDA en GroenLinks also brace themselves for losses. The PVV will only run in 2 Cities. The SP, who expects to win, being the biggest opponent of the budget cuts, still remains reserved. Only D66 expects to win, and win big. And the local senior parties expect to see some growth in the number of votes.

The parties put up this façade of confidence in their victory, but fear the results of the elections. Their campaigns are focused on damage control before all else. 'Focus on retaining votes in the upcoming campaign, or a slight gain,' said a PvdA campaign strategist in September 2013. 'The national polls draw a negative picture for the coalition partners,' concluded a VVD campaign leader, who went on to say he hoped the voters 'realize these are local elections.' The CDA tries to limit the damage by mainly encouraging faithful voters to vote. Local fractions are advised to focus on neighborhoods that used to favor CDA, but have turned, in the assumption those may be more easily convinced to vote CDA again. GroenLinks chairman, Rick Grashoff bluntly stated he was counting on a loss. 'We proclaim to the world that we are going to win, but we know better.'

The SP withdrew from 26 cities, where they ran in 2010, but instead runs in 21 new cities. D66 is the only party that goes for the victory, and runs in 50 more cities than previous years.

Despite all the fearful anticipation, campaign coordinators are busy training and advising, and giving pointers on the do's and the don'ts, trying to make the best of the situation.