Turnout up as Netherlands elects provincial councils and senate

Turnout in the provincial elections appears to be slightly up on four years ago, people tracking the day’s events say.

The polls close at 21.00 on Wednesday evening and the result is expected to be very close, making these the ‘most exciting provincial elections ever’, according to the Volkskrant. Four years ago, turnout was around 48%.
So far few problems have been reported, although some 50 people have been turned away from the polling station at Schiphol airport because they did not have the right sort of voting card.
Polling stations are also open at several main stations.
Tight result
The results of the provincial vote is to determine the make up of the upper house of parliament, or senate, and the coalition government is hoping for a majority in order to be able to pass controversial legislation on education cuts and social security reform.
The latest polls say the result is too close to call. The internet poll from Maurice de Hond puts the coalition alliance – the VVD, CDA and PVV – on 37 out of 75 senate seats. TNS Nipo gives the alliance 37 or 38 and Synovate’s latest political barometer 34.
The CDA currently has 21 seats in the senate but that is likely to be more than halved. The VVD has 14 and is forecast to increase that slightly. The PVV is making its debut but is set to win around 10 or 11 seats, the same as the PvdA (Labour).
Prime minister Mark Rutte has made an urgent appeal to government supporters to get out and vote. It will be ‘extremely difficult’ for the coalition to realise some of its aims without the necessary majority.
DutchNews.nl will cover the results as they come in this evening.

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