D66 is the clear local election favourite among international workers and expats in an online poll carried out by website DutchNews.nl.
D66 can count on the support of over 24% of international voters, more than double the next most popular parties – the PvdA on almost 12% and the SP on 11%. GroenLinks is next on 10.3% and the VVD is fifth on 9.6%. Over 2,000 people took part in the online poll.
‘Support for D66 has never been so big in our pre-election polls,’ says Robin Pascoe, editor of DutchNews.nl. ‘The PvdA were always the biggest party, but their support has more than halved since September 2012. The VVD, by contrast, has never been popular under internationals.’
A DutchNews.nl poll earlier in the campaign showed that finding affordable housing was by far the biggest election issue in the expat community. ‘People seem to think all expats are rich and can afford to pay €2,000 a month for a one-bedroom flat,’ says Pascoe. ‘Housing is a real problem, especially in Amsterdam.’
Another important issue is the participation declaration, which social affairs minister Lodewijk Asscher wants all new arrivals in the Netherlands to sign.
‘Some 75% of our readers say the contract is insulting and will do nothing to improve the integration of foreigners into Dutch society,’ says Pascoe. ‘They see this as yet another attack on all international workers.’
A number of international candidates are also standing in the local elections. For example, there are eight first-generation Polish women representing parties in The Hague, Leidschendam-Voorburg, Breda, Diemen, Heusden and Westland.
American comedian Greg Shapiro is last on the list for D66 in Amsterdam.
DutchNews.nl has set up a special website section with summaries of the main parties’ political programmes to help expats and internationals decide who to vote for.
‘The government is planning to increase the residency requirement to vote in the local elections from five to seven years for non-EU nationals,’ says Pascoe.
‘So it is very important that expats and internationals make use of their democratic rights. In both Amsterdam (60,000 expat voters) and The Hague (40,000 expat voters), their support could make all the difference.’
The poll was run on the DutchNews.nl website up to Sunday, March 16. The poll does not include the PVV because the party is only standing in The Hague and Almere.
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