Provinces begin coalition forming

As the dust settles on yesterday’s elections, party leaders in the 12 provinces will now get down to work on forming coalitions to run their regional affairs for the next four years. Nationwide, the Socialist Party (SP) was the biggest net gainer of seats and is now the second biggest party in two provinces.

Labour (PvdA) lost support across the board. ‘It could have been worse,’ national party leader Wouter Bos commented.
Support for local parties was also down, although some managed to hang on to one seat. The pro-animal PvdD, a new player to provincial politics, took nine of the 564 seats which were up for grabs, turning in its best performance in Noord Holland.
In the 2003 provincial elections, there were 764 seats to win but that has now been cut to 564, making direct comparisons in some provinces more complicated. The regional summaries below are based on how the provinces would have been divided up politically in 2003 using this year’s seat total.
Frisian national party Fryske Nasjonale Partij lost one of its six seats but had been expected to do far worse. The Christian Democrats (CDA )and PvdA, who hold a majority of the seats and whose share of the vote is practically unchanged, have already begun talks on forming a provincial coalition.
The SP will have five seats in Zeeland, up from one in 2003 (calculated on the basis of fewer total seats in 2007). The CDA remains the largest party with 10 seats while national coalition Labour partner lost two of its eight. The right-wing Liberal VVD is also on six while the fundamentalist Christian SGP has five. PvdA spokeswoman Maria le Roy said her party’s losses were ‘dramatic’. Le Roy: ‘The SP has gained at our expense. That means we have not been able to show our social side’.
As in Zeeland and Overijssel, the social democratic D66 party has been wiped out in Flevoland, the newest of the 12 Dutch provinces. The SP tripled its local vote to six. Both the VVD and CDA lost support, taking them to nine and eight respectively. Labour, which had been the biggest party, is now in third place. Turnout in Flevoland was just under 44%.
D66 hung on to two of its three seats in Utrecht. The CDA remained the largest party with 11 (down one) with the VVD snapping at its heels at 10. Labour lost support and now has eight seats, three more than the SP. Junior national coalition partner ChristenUnie added one seat and now has four.
D66 lost both of its two seats in Overijssel in line the rest of the country. The CDA lost a little support but remains by far the biggest party with 17 of the 47 seats. Labour also lost support and is now on nine seats with the VVD in third place with seven. The SP tripled its wins and now has six seats, meaning it could hold the balance of power.

Zuid Holland

With 12 seats in the new provincial council, the VVD is now bigger than Labour which saw its vote shrink to just 10 seats. The CDA remains the biggest party with 13 seats. The SP doubled its vote and now has eight seats. ‘For the first time in 12 years we have more seats than Labour and VVD,’ commented CDA local leader Asje van Dijk. ‘The voter has not only supported us, but the current [local] coalition with the VVD and PvdA.’
The CDA remains the biggest party in Gelderland with 15 seats, followed by the PvdA with 10 and VVD with nine. But all three main parties lost support compared with 2003. The CDA lost the equivalent of two seats, while Labour lost three. The SP now has seven seats, up from the equivalent of three four years ago, while the VVD is unchanged on nine. The orthodox Christian parties hold five.
Against all expectations, local interest party Partij voor het Noorden managed to hang on to one of its two seats in Groningen. The biggest winner in the province was the SP which saw its vote more than double to seven seats.
‘A fantastic result,’ said local party leader Kees Swagerman. ‘I think we will now play a far bigger role. We are going to talk about forming a coalition with Labour.’ The SP still has fewer seats than the current local coalition of CDA and Labour, both of which lost support and are one seat short of a majority in the 43-seat chamber.
Both the pro-animal PvdD and local grouping Brabantse Partij will have one seat in the new Noord-Brabant provincial government. Both the CDA (from 22 to 18 seats) and Labour (from 12 to eight) were hard hit in this province. The VVD held its 11 seats while the SP tripled its vote and now has 12, making it the second-biggest party.


Labour is seen as the key to forming a new provincial government in Limburg. While the CDA and VVD could form a coalition with the thinnest of majorities, the CDA could also form a majority with the Labour and the Socialists. The SP is the second biggest party in the province with nine seats while the CDA dominates with 18 (down three on 2003).
Animal rights party PvdD will debut in Noord-Holland with two seats on the provincial council while the three main parties all lost votes. Biggest loser of the night was Labour which saw its vote crumble from the equivalent of 16 in 2003 to 11 now. The VVD is the biggest party in the province with 13 seats. The CDA went from 11 to 10 seats. As elsewhere, the main winner was the SP, adding five seats to a new total of nine.
Turnout in Drenthe was 51.2%, well above the national average of 46.3%. Big winner here is the SP which will debut in the provincial government with five seats. Labour lost some support but remains the biggest party with 13 seats, followed by the CDA with 10 and VVD with eight.

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