Human rights organization Amnesty International calls on the Dutch government to do justice to the millions of people who voted against a new law for the Dutch intelligence services in a referendum on Wednesday. The law should be changed on certain points to make certain it protects human rights, the Dutch branch of the organization said in a statement on Thursday.
The municipal elections in the Netherlands on Wednesday had no significant problems, according to observers from the European Council who followed the elections critically. They do however see room for improvement, the Volkskrant reports.
One such improvement is for the Netherlands to draw up rules on the financing for local political parties. Such rules already exists on national level - parliamentary parties are obliged to publish all donations above 4,500 euros. But that does not apply to local parties and creates a concerning lack of transparency, according to the observers.
French President Emmanuel Macron visited the Netherlands on Wednesday, in the run-up to a European sumit in Brussels on Thursday and Friday. He emphasized the strong bond between the Netherlands and France, but criticized the Dutch policies on corporate tax and pulse fishing, NOS reports.
King Willem-Alexander received the French president in an official welcome ceremony at Noordeinde Palace, after which Prime Minister Mark Rutte met with him. The two heads of state then gave a press conference together.
GroenLinks won big in the municipal elections and is now the largest party in cities like Amsterdam and Utrecht. With all votes in 325 out of 335 municipalities counted, it seems almost certain that the CDA will remain the biggest party in the Netherlands, RTL Nieuws reports.
In addition to the municipal elections and a referendum on a new law for the intelligence services, Weesp residents also had to vote in a referendum on whether their municipality should merge with Amsterdam or Gooise Meren on Wednesday.
Geert Wilders and his PVV won city council seats seats in each one of the 30 municipalities the party participated in during the municipal elections on Wednesday. In total the PVV currently stands on 74 seats, the Volkskrant reports.
During the previous municipal elections four years ago, the PVV only participated in two municipalities - Almere and The Hague. The party got fewer seats in those two municipalities this time around. In Almere the party dropped from nine to seven seats, and in The Hague from seven to two seats.
Due to delivery problems, many voters in Nijmegen received two voting passes and could therefore vote twice, Omroep Gelderland reports.
Around 400 voting passes were sent twice because there were problems with the delivery. The broadcaster decided to check whether people could vote with both received passes. Two people were sent to vote twice, and in both cases they could.
According to Omroep Gelderland, their testers did not actually vote twice, because that would be illegal. The broadcaster only checked whether the polling stations would allow it.
With 80 percent of the votes in the referendum on whether or not to implement a new law for the Dutch intelligence and security services counted, opponents to the law are taking the lead. Of the counted votes, 49 percent were against the law, and 47 percent for. Around 4 percent of the votes were blank, the Volkskrant reports.
Around 53 percent of voters voted in the referendum, far above the 30 percent required for the referendum to be valid.
With 97 percent of votes counted, it is clear that local parties received the most votes in the municipal elections on Wednesday. The VVD and CDA are neck-on-neck to become the biggest national party, with the liberals leading by a hair, according to ANP's election service.
The results for 7,500 council seats are known so far, NU.nl reports. 55 percent of voters voted in the municipal election, a slightly higher turnout compared to 54 percent in the previous municipal elections four years ago.
An exit poll for Wednesday's city-wide elections suggested that green party GroenLinks was the big winner in Amsterdam, with enough votes to nearly double their city council seats from 6 to 11. Centrist party D66 and left-wing Labour party (PvdA) were the big losers of the night in the capital, each dropping five seats, according to the Ipsos/NOS exit poll.
An exit poll published on Wednesday night showed that roughly 48 percent of the Netherlands population turned out to vote in a referendum on a law that would give intelligence services authority to collect and access a massive amount of data. With a five percent margin of error, the Ipsos/NOS poll said that 49 percent voted in favor of the law, and 48 percent against, with three percent registering no-votes.
The Netherlands does not have to grant residents of Afghanistan asylum, because the country is safe enough to return to, the Council of State ruled on Wednesday. The highest administrative judge in the Netherland agreed with a previous ruling by the court in The Hague, RTL Nieuws reports.
This lawsuit was filed by an Afghani man whose asylum application was rejected by the State Secretary of Justice and Security. According to the man, the security situation in his country, and especially in the Ghanzi province, is so bad that he would be in danger if he is sent back.
It seems that many Dutch voters are making a last minute decision on who to vote for in the municipal elections on Wednesday. Online voting aides like StemWijzer and Kieskompas received tens of thousands of visitors since Tuesday, NOS reports.
A number of polling stations across the Netherlands opened late or had to move on Wednesday morning due to various problems ranging from lost keys to a virus outbreak, NOS reports.
A polling station in a residential care center in Hardegarijp, Friesland had to be relocated due to an outbreak of the noro virus, a virus that causes symptoms like diarrhea, nausea, vomiting and severe abdominal cramps. The polling station was moved to center IT Maskelyn. There was already a polling station there, but its capacity has now been expanded.
PVV leader Geert Wilders decided to cancel a planned visit to an election event in the Terneuzen town hall on Wednesday after Terneuzen mayor Jan Lonink said that he was not pleased by the visit.
A number of local and national politicians have been spotted casting their votes in the parliamentary elections on Wednesday.
Minister Kasja Ollongren of Home Affairs was the first politician spotted at a polling station. She cast her vote at Amsterdam Central Station at 6:30 a.m.
Someone tried to hack the Facebook page and website of Katwijk political party DURF on Tuesday and Wednesday, the party said on Facebook.
For a short time the DURF Facebook page showed a post calling on voters to vote for 'another party'. Someone also tried to log in to the party website from different accounts. DURF doesn't know who is behind the hack.
"This is undermining local democracy", the party writes on Facebook. "It is unacceptable. This manipulation is a disgrace and a slap in the face for all the people who are going to cast their vote today."
A 29-year-old woman from Raalte received dozens of sexual messages and photos from a CDA city councilor in the Overijssel town. The councilor in question, Robert Vloedgraven, decided to withdraw as candidate councilor for the CDA in Raalte, he announced on Wednesday, De Stentor reports.
"Pictures of himself and also of his genitals, messages asking whether I'm shaved below and that I have big breasts. That kind of messages", the woman said to RTV Oost on Tuesday. She did not like the sexting, but found it hard to say no due to an anxiety disorder, she said.
In the final debate before the municipal elections, the national party leaders of all parties represented in parliament had a final chance to convince voters to vote for their party on Wednesday. While the debate was for the municipal elections, the party leaders mainly focused on national issues on Tuesday evening, NU.nl reports.
Today around 13 million Dutch can vote in a referendum on whether or not to implement a new law for intelligence services AIVD and MIVD. Polling stations opened at 7:30 a.m. and most will remain open until 9:00 p.m.
It's election day in the Netherlands. Today nearly 12.5 million Dutch can cast their vote in their municipal elections as well as in a referendum on whether or not to implement a new law for the Dutch intelligence services. Most polling stations open at 7:30 a.m. and will remain open until 9:00 p.m., according to NOS.
A 44-year-old man from Sprang-Capelle in Noord-Brabant was fined 250 euros for trying to sell his ballots for the municipal elections and referendum on online market place Martplaats, Omroep Brabant reports.
The man posted the ad online last Tuesday. He wanted to sell his ballots for the municipal election and the referendum on the intelligence agencies' new law, both of which are happening on Wednesday, in an open bid. "I never vote myself, in this way I can make another person happy", he said on the ad, according to the broadcaster.
Stef Blok, the new Minister of Foreign Affairs, wants to make safety "the backbone of Dutch foreign policy". He particularly plans to focus on cybersecurity, he said in a memo on his strategy for the coming years sent to the Tweede Kamer on Tuesday, NOS reports.
State Secretary Paul Blokhuis of Public Health is back at work after a leave of absence following his daughter Julia's unexpected death. On Twitter he thanked the people of the Netherlands for the support they showed his family during this difficult time.