On Tuesday evening the 13 political party leaders responded to the shooting in Utrecht, in which three people were killed and three seriously injured, at the start of the last political debate before the Provincial States elections on Wednesday.
The polling station in Castricum that opened at midnight received 17 voters during the early hours of Wednesday morning. The polling station at the train station in the Noord-Holland town was the first to open for the Provincial States election. Most other polling stations opened at 7:30 a.m.
The Tweede Kamer, the lower house of Dutch parliament, held a moment of silence on Tuesday afternoon to commemorate the three victims killed in a shooting on 24 Oktoberplein in Utrecht on Monday. The President of the Tweede Kamer, Khadija Arib, opened Tuesday's weekly question and answer session speaking in honor of the victims in Utrecht and also the fifty people killed in a shooting at a mosque in Christchurch, New Zealand.
The latest poll by Maurice de Hond shows right-wing party FvD gaining massive support compared to the votes the party got in the 2017 parliamentary election. Ruling party VVD, on the other hand, is losing support. The Provincial States elections are on Wednesday, March 20th.
In the parliamentary election, the FVD got 2 parliamentary seats. If that election was held again today, the party would get 18 seats, according to the poll. The VVD would see its seats drop from 33 to 22. That puts only a two seat difference between the two parties.
A man arrested in Heerlen on Saturday, shortly before PVV leader Geert Wilders started handing out flyers there, was armed with an ax and two knives, the national coordinator for counterterrorism and security NCTV confirmed to NOS after Wilders tweeted about it.
The police arrested a man shortly before an election event by PVV leader Geert Wilders in Heerlen on Saturday. On Twitter Wilders said the authorities told him the man wanted to harm him.
Three CDA politicians reported the disappearance of around 30 election posters to the police. They believe the posters were deliberately stolen. On Twitter CDA Provincial States member Marcel Deryckere called it "extremely sad" that these signs were stolen. "Campaigning is a celebration and elections are the culmination of our democracy."
The affected CDA members are one candidate for the Noord-Brabant provincial government, and two candidates for water boards, according to Omroep Brabant. The posters were stolen from the public space, for example from lamp posts.
The first debate for the Provincial State elections of 20 March, which will ultimately also determine the composition of the Senate, happened on RTL on Thursday. The climate was one of the main points that the leaders of the VVD, CDA, D66, PVV, SP, PvdA and FvD debated, NU.nl reports.
The home of Friesland PVV candidate Jeffrey Graansma was vandalized. Texts accusing the populist party of fascism were spray-painted on the wall of his home in the Friesland village of Boelenslaan, according to a photo PVV leader Geert Wilders shared on Twitter. "Disgusting and unacceptable", the PVV leader said.
The 19-year-old Graansma is a candidate in Friesland for the provincial states elections on March 20th, according to newspaper AD.
The Dutch voting software OSV will also be used in the Provincial States election on March 20th. Over the past years, multiple vulnerabilities have been found in the software.
Prime Minister Mark Rutte kicked off the VVD's campaign for the Provincial States elections with an open letter published in multiple newspapers. In the letter, addressed to "all the ordinary normal people", Rutte calls on the Dutch to protect the Netherlands. Remarkably, the VVD is not mentioned once, AD reports.
The Dutch government is launching an online campaign against fake news in February, in the run up to the Provincial State and European Parliament elections next year. The campaign must make Dutch voters more aware of the possible presence of disinformation and help people recognize it, Minister Kasja Ollongren of Home Affairs said in a letter to parliament, NOS reports.
The campaign will be spread on social media and last for around four months, through the Provincial States election on March 20th and up to the European Parliament elections on May 23rd.
The Dutch government is planning to launch a campaign against fake news in the run-up to the elections for the Provincial State and European Parliament. In a letter to parliament, Minister Kasja Ollongren of Home Affairs and Kingdom Relations said that the government wants to make citizens more aware of misinformation around the elections, NOS report.
The Netherlands does not recognize the outcome of the elections held in Venezuela over the weekend, in which leftist president Nicolas Maduro was re-elected. "They were not free and independent elections", Minister Stef Blok of Foreign Affairs said to the Tweede Kamer, the lower house of Dutch parliament, RTL Nieuws reports.
The Netherlands' current election process - with manual voting, polling stations that stay open for long hours, and manual vote counting - is no longer feasible and can give rise to doubts about results' reliability. The association of Dutch municipalities VNG and the Dutch association of civil affairs NVVB therefore composed an 'Election Agenda 2021' with several proposals for making this process more efficient, NOS reports.
The parliament of Sint Maarten, the States, passed a motion of no confidence against six of the seven minsters in its government, including Prime Minister William Marlin on Thursday. The government was disbanded and new elections will be held in January, governor Eugene Holiday announced in a statement. Until then, the island will be ruled by an interim government that still needs to be established, ANP reports.
Angela Merkel's Christian democratic party CDU got the most votes in the Bundestag elections. Though the German government parties suffered substantial losses, with right-wing populist party AfD gaining significant ground. Prime Minister Mark Rutte called Merkel to congratulate her, he said on Facebook.
The Netherlands may test digitizing some steps in the voting process for voters abroad in future elections. Hague mayor Pauline Krikke wants to adapt the election act so that voters living abroad can receive their voting card digitally, instead of by post. She wants the elections to be less dependent on other countries' postal systems, NOS reports.
"In some countries, it's no exception that a mail bag will lie in a post office for a few weeks", Krikke said. The Hague is in charge of arranging the elections for Dutch people abroad.
Some 40 percent of Dutch voters with visual impairment or with mental disabilities had trouble in the polling station during the parliamentary election in March, according to a study by the College of Human Rights. The Netherlands must do more to help these vulnerable groups cast their vote, the college said, according to RTL Nieuws.
On Friday Iranians are voting in the first election since the country agreed to limit its nuclear program. In the Netherlands Dutch-Iranians can vote at the Iranian embassy in The Hague.
The vast majority of Dutch municipalities want to go back to using voting machines in the next election, according to a survey by NOS among 235 municipalities. A massive 90 percent of them want the use of voting machines to be reintroduced as soon as possible, if that can be done safely.
The election of the Eurogroup chairman may be delayed, the current head Jeroen Dijsselbloem wrote on Twitter. Dijsselbloem believes that Greece should be the focus of attention for now.
Ruling Dutch party VVD is continuing to poll stronger after a tough election night where the conservative party lost 23 provincial council seats. The election night loss is expected to lead to three lost senate seats for the VVD.
With more than 97 percent of the votes counted last night, it seems very likely that the Cabinet will need the help of another party in the Eerste Kamer (Senate). The projected results of the Provincial Elections 2015 stand as follows: