Right-wing nationalist FvD big winners in Netherlands' first exit polls

Netherlands polling voting elections
A person casts their election ballot in front of the Dutch flagimage: vepar5 / DepositPhotos

The ruling coalition that forms the Cabinet in The Netherlands was projected to lose seven seats and its majority in the Eerste Kamer, the upper house of Dutch parliament. Eerste Kamer relative newcomer Forum voor Democratie (FvD), a nationalist right wing party, was projected to secure ten seats in the Dutch Senate, and left wing GroenLinks was expected to take eight seats. There are 75 seats in the chamber, with the coalition currently holding 38 for a razor thin majority.

However, the early exit poll results by Ipsos, and broadcast by NOS, has a margin of error of one seat. Several of the party gains and losses fell within that margin.

The first exit poll in the provincial elections in The Netherlands showed that FvD was also a big winner in the three provinces where research firm Ipsos conducted its canvas of voters. The party had a strong showing in Zuid Holland, which includes the large Dutch cities of Rotterdam, Den Haag, and Leiden, where the province's voters handed a large margin of victory to the right wing nationalist party. They also performed well in Noord-Brabant and Gelderland, suggesting the nationalists will be a force to be reckoned with if the current ruling coalition wants to pass any legislation through parliament.

Eerste Kamer polling

The largest party in the Eerste Kamer is projected to be the right wing VVD, which has been driven a bit more towards the middle over the last few months. They dropped one seat to 12, where as the FvD swiped ten seats in its first showing in provincial elections.

It could signal a political shift in The Netherlands, as the coalition will need support from one or more additional parties to pass legislation through the Eerste Kamer. The ruling coalition parties were projected to lose seven total seats, which means they could seek the support of GroenLinks or Labour to pass laws.

Alternatively, winning support from several smaller parties could also help the coalition get the ball over the line on new laws that potentially divide the country's opinions.

It is unlikely the coalition would seek the support of either nationalist parties, FvD and PVV, as the two of been harsh, fervent critics of the current cabinet. However, there will be some pressure on the national parties to enter into conversation with the FvD as it will be among the largest parties represented in the upper house.

GroenLinks showed a healthy gain, likely doubling their upper house seats to eight. Other winners include ChristenUnie, 50Plus, and PvdD.

The biggest losers outside of the coalition were the SP, which lost over half of its seats, and the PVV which lost three seats.

The projection is based on polling to determine the make-up of provincial and Caribbean representation. Those bodies of government together select the Eerste Kamer members every four years.

  • VVD won 12 (-1)
  • CDA won 8 (-4)
  • D66 won 7 (-3)
  • PVV won 6 (-3)
  • SP won 4 (-5)
  • Labour won 7 (-1)
  • GroenLinks won 8 (+4)
  • ChristenUnie won 4 (+1)
  • 50Plus won 3 (+1)
  • PvdD won 3 (+1)
  • SGP won 1 (-1)
  • Denk won 1 (+1)
  • FvD won 10 (+10)
  • Other parties combine for 1 (no change)

Current Eerste Kamer representation

The government coalition of VVD, CDA, D66 and ChristenUnie currently have a one seat majority in the Eerste Kamer. The current expectation is that the coalition will lose that smallest of majorities, which means that the government will need the support of opposition parties to get any of their plans through the Senate.

According to the latest poll by Maurice de Hond, the coalition was predicted to come out of this election with only 28 out of the 75 seats in the Senate - 10 below a majority. New right-wing party FvD, which currently has no seats in the Eerste Kamer, gained massive support over the past weeks, while ruling party VVD fell out of favor among voters.

According to De Hond, this can partly be attributed to the government's climate plans. After the Netherlands' environmental assessment agency PBL and central planning office CPB calculated that the plans in the climate agreement will likely not achieve the Netherland's goal of reducing its CO2 emissions by 48.7 megatons by 2030, the government announced that it will lower energy taxes on citizens and implement a CO2 tax on companies, among other things. 

As a result, an increasing number of VVD voters said they would instead vote FvD in this election. According to De Hond, many VVD voters feel that the party is now implementing GroenLinks policy, while they themselves are skeptical about climate change and therefore believe that there should be less focus on reducing CO2 emissions. 

Impact of mass shooting in Utrecht on Elections

The shooting on 24 Oktoberplein in Utrecht on Monday also influenced voters' behavior, according to De Hond. After the shooting, 41 percent of the 3 thousand voters De Hond polled said that they were more determined to vote on Wednesday. This was particularly the case among people who said they would be voting for right-wing, anti-Islam parties PVV and FvD - both of whom blamed the government and the Netherlands' policy on immigration and integration for the shooting during the last election debate on Tuesday.  

This effect could clearly be seen in Utrecht itself, where the lines at polling stations were much longer than expected, according to newspaper AD. 

That climate change and the shooting in Utrecht were the main topics that demanded voters' attention during this election campaign, could also be seen in the election debates. The first debate early this month was mainly focused on the climate, while the last debate on Tuesday evening focused mainly on the shooting on 24 Oktoberplein. 

Zuid Holland polling

Of the 55 members of Zuid Holland government who will choose Eerste Kamer representation, ten will likely be from the FvD. 

The ruling coalition leader VVD lost a seat in the exit poll, which will likely place them as the province's second largest party with nine seats. The far right nationalist PVV fell from eight seats to four, matching the seat totals for centrist D66 (down 3), and CDA (down 3).

Labour held level at five, which is joined by Groenlinks (up 2). SP fell three to take two seats, SGP fell one to take two seats, and the animal rights party PvdD held level at two. Multicultural party Denk scored its first two seats in Zuid Holland. ChristenUnie held level at three, matching 50 Plus (up 1).

  • VVD won 8 (-1)
  • CDA won 8 (-1)
  • D66 won 4 (-3)
  • SP won 3 (-3)
  • PvdA won 5 (-1)
  • PVV won 3 (-2)
  • ChrisenUnie won 4 (no change)
  • SGP won 3 (no change)
  • GroenLinks won 6 (+3)
  • PvdD won 2 (no change)
  • 50Plus won 2 (+1)
  • FvD won 7 (+7)

Noord-Brabant polling

A shift to the right in Noord-Brabant where the FvD apparently took seats away from its far right rivals but also the conservative CDA. The ruling coalition parties, VVD, CDA, D66 and ChristenUnie saw a combined loss of about three of its 27 seats in Noord-Brabant. A total of 55 seats were up for grabs in the southern Dutch province, with the VVD holding its current ten seats. FvD earned its first seats jumping into the fray with eight.

GroenLinks also showed a healthy gain of two seats. The socialist SP had a tough loss of four seats, and PVV was also licking its wounds with a loss of three.

  • VVD won 10 (no change)
  • CDA won 8 (-1)
  • SP won 4 (-4)
  • PVV won 4 (-3)
  • D66 won 5 (-2)
  • Labour won 4 (no change)
  • GroenLinks won five (+2)
  • 50Plus won 2 (no change)
  • PvdD won 2 (no change)
  • CU-SGP won 1 (no change)
  • Lokaal Brabant won 1 (no change)
  • FvD won 8 (+8)

Gelderland Polling

A slight rise for ChristenUnie might not be enough to save the standing of the Tweede Kamer's ruling coalition in Gelderland, as much of the poll's results was within the margin of error. Along with FvD, GroenLinks was also a strong winner in the rural province of about two million people.

The biggest losers in Gelderland appear to be D66 and SP, which were each projected to lose three of the 55 representative seats in the province.

  • VVD won 9 (-1)
  • CDA won 8 (-1)
  • D66 won 4 (-3)
  • SP won 3 (-3)
  • Labour won 5 (-1)
  • PVV won 3 (-2)
  • CU won 4 (no change)
  • SGP won 3 (no change)
  • GroenLinks won 6 (+3)
  • PvdD won 2 (no change)
  • 50Plus won 2 (+1)
  • FvD won 7 (+7)