Ruling coalition wins 2 extra seats in Dutch senate; Still 6 short of majority
The political composition of the Eerste Kamer, the upper house of Dutch parliament, was made clear on Monday, with both the right wing VVD and far right nationalists FvD holding 12 seats. The ruling coalition parties, CDA, D66, ChristenUnie and Prime Minister Mark Rutte's VVD, kept 32 of their 38 seats.
There are 75 seats in the Eerste Kamer, making 38 the number to reach in order to claim a simple majority.
Even though the coalition held two more seats than expected, they will still need the support of at least one political party to pass legislation through both houses of government. Left wing parties GroenLinks and Labour (PvdA) expect they will be the force to be reckoned with when it comes to political wrangling.
"We are needed for a majority. The government cannot ignore us," said GroenLinks leader Jesse Klaver. His party took eight seats as the first exit polls predicted, but one down from revised estimates. That doubling of seats in the Eerste Kamer put the party in a position to say their popularity makes them the logical choice as a coalition partner.
However, the Labour party was the big winner in the Netherlands during last week's European elections. "We are open to good ideas," party leader Lodewijk Asscher told NOS. "Whether about the budget or important tax plans, they cannot ignore us."
Still the fastest growing party in the Netherlands is the Forum door Democratie, a far right nationalist party that is opposed to immigration and policy to combat climate change. FvD also supports a Netherlands exit from the European Union, and its leader Thierry Baudet recently came out against abortion, euthanasia, and some women's issues while peddling conspiracy theories about the crash of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17.
Even though the party is large enough to be an alternative choice as a coalition partner, at least one member of the existing coalition has said it is unlikely to even attempt to make that relationship work. "There is of course a party that is against climate policy, who wants to close borders, wants ministers to resign and the Netherlands to leave the European Union", said D66 leader Rob Jetten back in March. "So that party already excluded itself from cooperation with the coalition. But we are going to see if they will also turn that huge number of seats into responsibility."
Baudet himself had previously said his party would not work with a coalition that supported climate policy. The FvD will take 12 seats, the same as the revised polling estimate and two more than the first exit polls predicted.
Anti-Islam nationalist party PVV lost five of its nine seats. Between the Provincial elections in March and the European elections last week, the PVV has seen a dramatic drop in public support.
Both D66 and independent faction OSF held one more seat than predicted, while Labour and GroenLinks took one less than expected.
Voters in the Netherlands and the Caribbean cast their ballots in the provincial elections in March. That result determined who sat on the Provincial Councils and Island Council. The composition of the Eerste Kamer is chosen by those councils, whose votes are weighted based on regional population as a proportion of the total Netherlands populace.
The parties listed below will hold the following number of seats in the Eerste Kamer until the 2023 provincial elections:
- VVD 12 (-1)
- FvD 12 (+12)
- CDA 9 (-3)
- GroenLinks 8 (+4)
- PvdA 6 (-2)
- D66 7 (-3)
- PVV 5 (-4)
- ChristenUnie 4 (+1)
- SP 4 (-5)
- PvdD 3 (+1)
- 50Plus 2 (no change)
- SGP 2 (no change)
- OSF 1 (no change)