Revised vote totals show extra gains for VVD, Wilders; Health Min. Schippers to help form coalition

Edith Schippers (Photo: Commonst)Edith Schippers (Photo: Commonst)

Current Public Health Minister Edith Schippers (VVD) was appointed to explore the coalition possiblities for the Netherlands' new cabinet, lower house president Khadija Arib announced at a press conference on Thursday afternoon. Schippers will start working as soon as possible and is expected to have a progress report ready by March 21st, so that the new parliament can debate it on Thursday.

According to Arib, Schippers was nominated by the VVD. It is customary for the biggest party to take the lead. All elected party leaders were present in the meeting where Schippers was appointed and, according to Arib, she can count on broad support. All elected party leaders agreed to inform King Willem-Alexander about Schippers' appointment.  

During the meeting the party leaders also made their early wishes known regarding a cabinet formation, promising not to give any information about the cabinet formation to the press, according to NOS. 

With over 99 percent of the municipalities reporting completed vote counts in the 2017 Dutch parliamentary election, the VVD is by far the biggest party with 33 parliamentary seats, according to news wire ANP's final prognosis. That represents a further gain of two seats. The PVV is almost certainly in second place with 20 seats, one more than predicted on Wednesday night in a national exit poll, but still representing a 42 percent loss in support for the anti-Islam nationalist party since January 1.

They are followed by the CDA and D66 with 19 each. GroenLinks is expected to take 14 seats, and not 16 as predicted earlier, matching the Socialist Party. The SP could just barely edge out GroenLinks in vote total to become the biggest left-wing party in the Netherlands. The official results will be announced on March 21st by the election commission Kiesraad.

Almost all the votes have been counted. Only votes by post, votes in the Caribiean Netherlands and the votes of a handful of small municipalities are still outstanding.

Leeuwarderadeel's votes, for example, aren't in yet. The votes will probably only be counted and submitted by 5:00 p.m., the municipality said in a press statement to Omrop Fryslan. According to the municipality, mistakes were made in the counting and the the votes had to be counted again. And when the results were later captured on a computer, there were problems with the software. At this stage the municipality is trying to capture the votes with the help of computer experts.

Heerlen was the municipality with the lowest turnout at 72 percent, compared to the national average of around 81 percent, according to ANP figures. The island of Schiermonnikoog had the highest turnout at 130 percent. That is due to many vacationers voting on the island. 

Election winner VVD has the biggest following in Laren, where Prime Minister Mark Rutte's party got 47.1 percent of the votes. Urk has the fewest VVD supporters. There the party only got 1.8 percent of the votes. The SGP was the most popular in that municipality, with 56 percent of the votes. Of the four largest cities, the VVD is also the biggest party in Rotterdam and The Hague. GroenLinks is largest in Amsterdam and the D66 took the most votes in Utrecht. 

Election results projection, by party

Projections based on newswire ANP reporting, with over 99 percent of municipalities reporting unofficial totals. Ballots from overseas territories, embassies and consulates were not fully tallied as of noon on March 16, 2017. Official results to be certified on March 21, 2017.

    •    VVD: 33 seats (-8)
    •    PVV: 20 seats (+5)
    •    D66: 19 seats (+6)
    •    CDA: 19 seats (+7)
    •    GroenLinks: 14 seats (+10)
    •    SP: 14 seats (-1)
    •    PvdA: 9 seats (-29)
    •    ChristenUnie: 5 seats (0)
    •    Partij voor de Dieren: 5 seats (+3)
    •    50Plus: 4 seats (+2)
    •    SGP: 3 seats (0)
    •    Denk: 3 seats (+3)
    •    Forum voor Democratie: 2 seats (+2)
* Several political parties including Artikel 1, Piraten Partij, Nieuwe Wegen and VNL won votes, but are not projected to have enough support to earn a seat in Parliament.