PvdA, PVV lose big, D66, SP on top

Municipal councils throughout the country got an extreme makeover at the local elections Wednesday. The CDA is still the biggest party, but the PvdA and the VVD have had to swallow big losses as they saw their leading positions slip away in many places.

Both parties lost several hundred seats, while the outcome for the D66 was all roses. This is something of a resurrection for the democrats, as they were almost swept off the board of local politics in 2006.

In Amsterdam, previous PvdA territory, they won by almost a quarter of the votes. Similarly in Utrecht, the PvdA took a nose-dive.

The election results are "much better than hoped", according to D66-leader Alexander Pechtold. In a reaction on Wednesday, he promised that he would also keep supporting the cabinet with this result, even though he wants to "keep steering fundamentally."

The PvdA was the biggest loser, as the party lost power in big cities. The social-democrats went from first to third biggest party in The Hague, where the D66 overtook them as well. The labour party also had to give way for the PVV in the city.

In Rotterdam, Joost Eerdemans bumped the PvdA off the throne with his Leefbaar Rotterdam party. In the entire county, only one in ten voters chose PvdA, a loss of five percent.

It is expected that the governing party will lose 300 seats. "Participation in cabinet makes it difficult", clarified ex-party leader Job Cohen.

The VVD, with whom the PvdA governs, also encountered big losses. The liberal party has also lost about 300 seats.

Ex-VVD leader Ed Nijpels is grateful that the two parties could share in the loss, as he thinks if only the PvdA lost, then that would be very bad for the proportions within the cabinet. "But now the suffering is shared, shared distress is half distress."

Support for local parties keeps growing. Almost one in three voters chose a local party. The local groups, often with more practical rather than ideological standing, came far on top with 2500 seats in total, hereby consolidating their position.

The Socialist Party (SP) also won, doubling their council seats to around 400. In Groningen, they were the biggest party.

The CDA only lost 50 seats, leaving them at their position of biggest party in the municipal councils with around 1400 seats.

GroenLinks lost a sizable chunk of their 400 council members' seats, but was still satisfied. Party president Rik Grashoff said "if you look at where the party came from, we won the voter's trust again."