Cabinet senate majority still in doubt

The 566 members of the Netherlands’ 12 provincial councils will decide if the governing alliance gets a majority in the upper house of parliament on Monday afternoon.

The minority cabinet, made up of the VVD Liberals and Christian Democrats, has an alliance with the anti-Islam PVV in the lower house of parliament, but the three parties may fall one seat short of an overall majority of 38 seats.
This means the coalition will need the support of a fourth party to get through controversial legislation – particularly in the field of tightening up immigration laws. The PVV agreed to support the cabinet on economic matters in return for a get-tough approach to foreigners.
This weekend it emerged the VVD has dropped support for legislation which would scrap the blasphemy laws. This is widely seen as a concession to win the backing of the fundamentalist Christian group SGP in the senate – a move which could give the alliance the slim majority it needs.
Voting takes place at 15.00 hours, with the result due at around 16.00.
According to the Financieele Dagblad, it is still extremely unclear if the government will get the support it hopes for, despite the concessions to the SGP. Between three and six seats are still uncertain, due to the complicated voting procedure and the fact that some councillors may vote for other parties.
Trouw says if the three alliance parties give their ‘excess votes’ to the anti-Islam PVV, that would add up to an extra seat for the alliance. Helping the SGP to a second seat would also have the same affect. But if the Liberal democrats of D66 and ChristenUnie give their surplus votes to Labour or the Socialists, the opposition may have a majority.

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