126 aldermen forced to step down last year

Last year a 126 of the total 1,144 aldermen in the Netherlands were dismissed or forced to resign - the highest number in 15 years, according to a study commissioned by Binnelands Bestuur. In 2004, a total of 157 aldermen and -women were forced to leave, NOS reports.

The main reason for aldermen being forced to step down last year was the high number of coalitions that collapsed prematurely, the researchers found. That happened in 26 of the 355 Dutch municipalities. Coalitions collapsed for various reasons, such as financial problems within the municipality, conflicts over budget cuts, and broken down relationships within the coalition. 

An integrity issue led to the coalition of The Hague collapsing. The Public Prosecutor is investigating two aldermen suspected of accepting bribes for issuing hospitality permits. The aldermen are being investigated for favoritism and corruption. A Diemen alderman resigned after being arrested in Amsterdam. And an Amsterdam alderman resigned due to disagreements on how to handle problems at waste and energy company AEB

The researchers found that the fragmentation of the political landscape was not an important cause for coalition breaks. In 16 of the 26 municipalities with collapsed coalitions, the number of factions in the municipal council was the same or lower after the collapse. 

In addition the 126 fallen aldermen, another 75 stepped down for other reasons, such as their health or them being appointed to other roles.