Constitutional amendment proposed to allow cities more freedom to hold elections

Voters arrive in Amsterdam Oost for the 2019 elections
Voters arrive at a polling station in Amsterdam Oost for the 2019 European Parliamentary elections. May 23, 2019photo: NL Times

Ruling party VVD and opposition party 50Plus want to change the constitution so that it is possible for municipalities to hold elections if their city council falls apart. Parliamentarians Jan Middendorp (VVD) and Henk Krol (50Plus) submitted an amendment proposal to this effect, AD reports.

The two parliamentarians feel that early elections should be allowed in the event of a political crisis in a municipality. Such a crisis can result in serious disturbed relationships, like the mayor and aldermen losing confidence in the city council, or the other way around. This can make a municipality unmanageable, which is bad for voter confidence, they argue.

The government will look at the proposal, but calls such an amendment to the constitution "no small matter". State Secretary Raymond Knops of Home Affairs and Kingdom Relations said that he is open to "experiments in this area". He wants to see if mid-term elections can offer a solution to serious conflicts within municipalities. 

Early this month the city council coalition of The Hague collapsed after it became known that two aldermen in the city are suspected of accepting bribes in return for issuing permits. This, combined with a harsh report by the Dutch Safety Board regarding the poor handling of the Scheveningen New Year's bonfire, also resulted in mayor Pauline Krikke stepping down