Election watch: news from the final weekend of campaigning

Photo: DutchNews.nl
Photo: DutchNews.nl

The Netherlands goes to the polls to elect 150 MPs for the lower house of parliament in the coming week. Here’s a round up of news from the final weekend of campaigning.

D66 on the up
With just a day before voting starts, D66 is increasing its lead thanks to a strong performance by party leader and current trade minister Sigrid Kaag, according to the latest poll by opinion pollster Maurice de Hond.

De Hond suggests D66 could win 17 seats in the 150-seat parliament and says support for the party would be higher if it was not for pan-European newcomer Volt, which is he suggests could win three. The poll is based on an online survey of almost 4,500 people.

De Hond’s poll also sees the Forum voor Democratie spin-off JA21 and Sylvana Simon’s BIJ1 also winning seats in parliament for the first time.

LHBTI agreement
Eight parties, including three of the current coalition, have signed a ‘rainbow agreement’ together with lhbti campaign group COC Nederland.

The agreement commits signatories to take steps to end violence against people on the basis of sex or sexual preference, and to improve the acceptance of lhbti youngsters in schools.

Similar agreements were signed ahead of the 2012 and 2017 general elections, but this is the first time the CDA has taken such a step. The other religious parties in parliament and the far right parties did not sign.

National recovery plan
Prime minister Mark Rutte has suggested cutting the post-election coalition negotiations in two.  Firstly, the most likely coalition of parties should draw up a ‘national recovery plan’ and then MPs from all parties will be asked to support it, in order to widen backing for the measures, Rutte told the AD in an interview.

‘We need to make a flying start,’ he said. ‘We can’t spend months behind closed doors working out how the water boards will operate in 2023. Such a formation will take an idiotic length of time, and that is time we don’t have,’ he said.

Coronavirus influence
Just one in five voters say their choice of who to vote for in the election has been influenced by coronavirus, Trouw reported on Saturday, based on an analysis of 15,000 people’s voting plans.

The Kieskompas research shows 12% of people have had doubts about their choice of party and 8% say they will vote for a different party than then did in 2017 because of coronavirus.The under-35s are more likely to let coronavirus policies influence their choice of party.

This article will be updated as necessary

For full coverage of the general election, check out the special website section.

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