Local elections 2018: GroenLinks looks set to be big winner at D66’s expense

Joost Eerdmans, leader of Leefbaar Rotterdam. Photo: Peter Hilz / HH

GroenLinks looks set to be the big winner in the municipal elections, overtaking D66 to become the biggest party in Amsterdam and Utrecht, according to NOS’s series of exit polls.

Jesse Klaver’s party was projected to take 25% of the vote in Utrecht and 22% in Amsterdam. The gains were mostly at the expense of D66, currently the largest group in both cities. The polls were carried out by IPSOS.

In Rotterdam local populist party Leefbaar Rotterdam appears to have seen off a challenge from Geert Wilders’s PVV party. Leefbaar is predicted to lose three of its 14 seats but remain the largest party in the city, while the PVV was given two councillors.

The advisory referendum on a new law to extend the powers of security and intelligence services – the so-called sleepwet or ‘dragnet law’ – was on a knife-edge in NOS’s poll. Supporters of the law were just ahead by 49% to 48%, with turnout of nearly 50%, comfortably above the 30% threshold that would trigger a debate in parliament to review the law.

As well as D66, the Labour party (PvdA), Christian Democrats (CDA) and Socialist Party (SP) were all predicted to lose grounds, while there were modest gains for the VVD, which could overtake CDA as the largest national party.

The polls also indicated strong performances for local parties, which earlier opinion polls suggested could take 30% of the vote across the country. In Weert, Limburg, Weert Lokaal was predicted to consolidate its position as the largest party with 34.8% of the vote while the CDA, VVD, SP, PvdA and D66 all saw their votes fall.

In Enschede, local party Burgerbelangen was forecast to overtake D66 and Labour to top the poll. ‘We have always been consistent with our policies and that is paying off now,’ said spokesman Hans van Agteren. ‘This victory has been achieved thanks to the fantastic efforts of our party group.’

Several national parties contesting councils for the first time were expected to make gains, including the PVV, which is projected to win four seats in Emmen as well as representatives in Rotterdam, Enschede and Utrecht. Tom Kelder, lead candidate in Emmen, said: ‘One in 10 people voted for us and for a new party with little experience I find that a real vote of confidence.’

Denk, the party founded by two former Labour MPs from the Dutch Turkish community, was predicted to win seats in Amsterdam, Rotterdam, Utrecht and Enschede, while Amsterdam could also see a debut for Thierry Baudet’s Forum voor Democratie and BIJ1, the party founded by Sylvana Simons.

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