Coalition fails to win majority in the senate, SGP support crucial

The ruling coalition has failed to win an outright majority of seats in the upper house of parliament, or senate, according to the latest prognosis from Nos television.

With a combined 37 seats, the coalition alliance of the conservative Liberal VVD, Christian Democrats and anti-Islam PVV is one seat short of control of the 75-seat house.
However, commentators say the party will be able to count on the support of the fundamentalist Christian SGP which has one seat and tends to follow the government line in most matters.
At the weekend, it emerged the VVD has withdrawn its support for legislation which would lift the ban on blasphemy – a move widely seen as a concession to the SGP.
The VVD’s youth wing has demanded the party comes clean about pre-election deals made in an effort to ensure a majority for the coalition.
The support of the SGP will be needed for the coalition to pass controversial legislation, particularly relating to immigration.
Tougher controls on non-western immigration are part of the deal the minority cabinet agreed with the PVV in exchange for its support on the economy.
SGP senator Gerrit Holdijk told the NRC he did not regard the result as a victory because his party had lost one seat. ‘I am used to looking at the pros and cons of legislation and I will continue to do that,’ he said.
The senate is elected by the 566 members of the 12 provincial councils. The senate’s job is to scrutinise legislation which has already been approved by the 150-seat lower house.
Most provincial councillors voted for their own parties but some voted for others in line with pre-election pacts. The PVV got an extra vote in Zeeland, thought to be from Johan Robesin of the local Zeeland Party who was at the centre of a row over ‘vote buying’ last month.
Nos breaks down the result as follows:
VVD (conservative Liberal):16
CDA (Christian Democrat): 11
PVV (anti-Islam): 10
PvdA (Labour): 14
SP (socialist): 8
D66 (Liberal democrat): 5
GroenLinks (left-wing green): 5
Christenunie (Christian): 2
SGP (fundamentalist Christian): 1
Partij voor de Dieren (pro animal): 1
50 Plus (over 50s): 1
Independent: 1
More to follow

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