Provincial elections: what the papers say

provincial election papersA glum-looking Diederik Samsom dominates the Telegraaf and Trouw, the day after the provincial elections, while the AD goes for CDA leader Sybrand Buma celebrating with his supporters.

All the papers emphasise the problems the fall in support for the coalition will have for the government and the difficulties it will face in finding new partners in the upper house of parliament.

‘The game of happy families can now begin,’ is the headline on ‘The Dutch political landscape has been chopped into pieces.’

‘Whoever gets to power in the national elections in the coming years, until 2020 it will take the support of at least four parties to achieve a majority,’ the paper states.

Elsevier’s Eric Vrijsen writes that prime minister Mark Rutte’s intention of turning the provincial elections into a referendum have ‘backfired’. ‘The cabinet has taken a significant hit. Rutte can’t simply ignore this outcome.’

Vrijsen doesn’t think the cabinet will fall but the fact that it now has to look for a fourth party for support in the senate will cause it ‘to limp towards the end.’

Vrijsen is unusually complimentary about Diederik Samsom who has been ‘gracious in defeat’, while Geert Wilders’ claim that the loss of a seat for his anti-Islam party was down to a low turnout is ‘a lame excuse.’


The Financieele Dagblad says Dutch politics have become so splintered the country needs to reform its political system to remain governable.

Finding a majority for his political reforms in the senate has given Rutte the idea this is the way to go for the foreseeable future, but ‘a system with two chambers which have roughly the same powers, use this power in the same way and whose compositions are completely different is not a basis for good governance.’

The Volkskrant writes that GroenLinks and the CDA now hold the key to a majority for the cabinet and an accord on the proposed changes to the Dutch tax system.

Neither party is giving anything away, however, with Buma stating he ‘will not get into the same boat’. ‘It wouldn’t be healthy. A cabinet needs to be subjected to scrutiny by an independent opposition,’ the paper quotes him as saying.

Biggest loser

The Telegraaf homes in on the Labour loss: ‘Red card for Samsom’ is its headline. ‘In spite of a disastrous VVD campaign, coalition partner Labour has turned out to be the biggest loser,’ the paper writes.

Trouw thinks that ‘voters resent the policy makers in the cabinet more than the parties who supported them.’

Labour losses in the northern provinces have been especially dramatic – in Groningen the party was halved –  and local Labour party members are saying trust in the governing parties is at an all-time low. This is because of the handling of the problems Groningen is experiencing as a result of gas extraction, the paper states.

The cabinet, Trouw says, has been punished, but the opposition parties which have supported its polices have been rewarded.

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