Local elections 2018: The votes have been counted, the coalition-forming can begin

Local elections 2018: The votes have been counted, the coalition-forming can begin

As the dust settles on the local election results, work has now begun on forming new coalitions for 335 different local authorities nationwide. In Rotterdam populist party Leefbaar Rotterdam is by far the biggest with 11 seats. Campaign leader Joost Eerdmans has already said he aims to create a broad coalition that did justice to the results and was looking into an alliance with the VVD, D66, PvdA and GroenLinks. In Amsterdam, GroenLinks is now the biggest party and has brought in Maarten van Poelgeest, with a long history in city politics, to start the work on putting together a new coalition. Barcelona's deputy mayor has sent his congratulations to GroenLinks leader Rutger Groot Wassink following the party's surge in support. The victory of @RutgerGW and @GroenLinks020 in the #Amsterdam elections is great news for everyone working to build a different Europe from local level. Barcelona looks forward to working with you in our common struggles! — Gerardo Pisarello (@G_Pisarello) March 22, 2018 Amsterdam D66 leader Reiner van Dantzig, who saw his party's support crumble from 14 to eight seats on the 45-seat city council, has said he wants to work with GroenLinks in the city administration. 'D66's policy is to co-manage,' he told the Parool. 'We share a lot of ideals but GroenLinks has the upper hand and we we know our place.' Van Dantzig did not rule out being part of a left-leaning coalition. 'We will work with everyone, apart from the one party we have ruled out,' he said, referring to Forum voor Democratie which is poised to win three seats. The definitive Amsterdam results will be published on Friday. Denk New party Denk, which has won seats in 13 cities, including three in Rotterdam and Amsterdam, is also keen to get involved in coalition forming. 'We are not a party which sits and shouts from the sidelines,' said national party leader Tunahan Kuzu. Denk largely draws its support from immigrant communities, particularly people with Turkish and Moroccan roots. The party, says Kuzu, speaks for 'a group of people who were not sufficiently involved in politics before.' In Schiedam near Rotterdam, Denk won over 11% of the vote and is the second biggest party on the local council. Alkmaar is the only city where the party failed to get a toehold. .@tunahankuzu: "Wij hebben een fantastische avond. Groepen mensen eisen hun plek op in deze samenleving, zowel maatschappelijk als in het bedrijfsleven."#Exitpoll #uitslagenavond #GR2018 #Gemeenteraadsverkiezingen #IkStemDENK pic.twitter.com/3R5FOTXqnX — DENK (@DenkNL) March 21, 2018 The other big winner among the smaller parties is the pro-animal Partij voor de Dieren, which has increased its vote everywhere and now has 33 local councillors nationwide. Fantastische groei: naar 33 zetels in de gemeenteraden. Dat is bijna een verdriedubbeling! 🎉🎉🎉 #GR2018 #gemeenteraadsverkiezingen #gemeenteraad Lees meer: https://t.co/uWTIQRQxAN pic.twitter.com/ZRt5kg5aOh — PvdD (@PartijvdDieren) March 22, 2018 In The Hague, Richard de Mos, the former PVV parliamentarian whose local party won nine seats on Wednesday, is also thinking coalitions. 'There are a lot of key things which we want to realise so we are going to negotiate,' he told local news website Den Haag Centraal. 'I will extend a hand to every party, we have never ruled anyone out,' he said. 'We want to work with everyone who wants to improve The Hague. And congratulations to GroenLinks and the VVD who won as well.' Majority In two local authority areas there was an absolute majority, so no need to form a coalition administration. In Tubbergen in Twente, the CDA won over 61% of the votes and in Reusel-de Mierden in Brabant, local party Samenwerking won 51% and has eight of the 15 seats on the town council. More election articles GroenLinks and local parties on top Wilders breaks through with a whimper, not a bang What happened in the DutchNews.nl focus cities What the papers say about the elections GroenLinks win in Amsterdam Groep de Mos, the surprise winners in The Hague    More >

Man tries to commit suicide in parliament

Wanted: a Dutch town or city to host this year’s televised Sinterklaas arrival The man who jumped from the public balcony in the lower house of parliament in The Hague on Thursday had tried to commit suicide, broadcaster NOS said. Television footage shows the shocked reaction of MP Arno Rutte who was about to start speaking when the incident took place. Parliament was debating organised crime at the time. The man had tried to kill himself and had tied some sort of rope around his neck. The other end was tied to the balcony, NOS said, quoting a police spokesman. The man, who has been taken away in an ambulance, is said to be a 65-year-old from Groenlo in the east of Gelderland. The Telegraaf says the man is a soft drugs activist who had been demonstrating outside the parliamentary complex for several weeks. He had also announced his plans on Facebook, saying 'I have to do this to shake up politicians', the paper said.  More >

Dutch French firm to make UK passports

Dutch French firm wins contract to make post Brexit British passports Dutch French firm Gemalto has won the contract to produce the new blue British passports which will be used by British nationals after Brexit, much to the fury of many people in Britain. The decision to award the €560m contract to the European firm led British company De La Rue to describe the decision as 'disappointing'. The government should have been 'supporting British business', the company said. De La Rue has the current contract to supply Britain's European passports, but that deal expires next year. Under EU rules, the government has to put the contract out to European tender. Gemalto, which specialises in identity documents, is listed on both the Amsterdam and Paris stock exchanges. It already supplies passports to the US, Denmark, France and India but not, according to its website, to the Netherlands.  More >

Barneveld red light district is no more

Wanted: a Dutch town or city to host this year’s televised Sinterklaas arrival Residents of a new residential district in the staunch Bible belt town of Barneveld have won their campaign to have the bat-friendly red street lighting turned off. People living in the Nesciostraat complained the lighting made it look like they lived in a red light district and reduced the value of their property.  The town council has now turned off the red lights and swapped some of the bulbs for traditional white lighting. The street was given red street lighting, because bats are apparently less sensitive to that than traditional street lamps. The council says that the neighbourhood is on a popular bat route and that by law it has to take steps to protect the animals. ‘As a local authority, we have to comply with the rules,’ a spokesman told local broadcaster Omroep Gelderland. The council says it is now in talks with nature organisations to see if there is an alternative.  More >

Death powder coop halts activities

Wanted: a Dutch town or city to host this year’s televised Sinterklaas arrival A cooperative which pledged to supply people with a deadly powder and is now under police investigation has cancelled a meeting where supporters could find out more about the chemical mix. Spokeswoman Petra de Jong told a current affairs show on Thursday night the cooperative had done nothing outside the law but that it first wanted legal clarity. Some 1,100 members had signed up for the meeting, broadcaster NOS said. 'We are halting our activities and are not going to do anything illegal. Nor will we inform our members about the powder at a meeting,' De Jong said. The public prosecution department said on Wednesday it had begun a criminal investigation into the Last Will cooperative. It is illegal in the Netherlands to help someone commit suicide and doctors may only help carry out euthanasia under strict protocols. The cooperative hit the headlines last September with the ‘discovery’ of the deadly powder – a widely-available preservative – which is legally available. The group campaigns for the right of people to end their own lives at the time of their choosing. Earlier this month, it emerged that a 19-year-old woman killed herself using the powder bought on the internet but her supplier is not thought to be the cooperative.  More >