Over 37,000 Dutch expats sign up for first ever senate vote
Some 37,173 Dutch nationals who live abroad have signed up to take part in the first ever electoral college for expats, which will give them a say in the make up of the senate, or upper house of parliament.
In total, Dutch expats living in more than 170 countries have registered to vote, ranging from Sweden to Uzebekistan and Vanuatu. Most live in Germany, followed by Belgium, France, Britain and the US.
Despite the figure being well down on the 90,000 who registered to vote in the 2021 general election, the total is ‘a great start’, Eelco Keij, the chairman of Dutch expat foundation SNBN told Dutch News.
‘We are very much encouraged by the number of registered voters,’ said Keij, who lives in the US.
Dutch expats had until February 1 to register their intention to vote for an 25-member electoral college on March 15, when the provincial elections take place. Members of the college will then vote in turn for the 75-seat senate in May.
It is the first time Dutch expats will have been able to have an impact on the make-up of the senate, following a change in the voting regulations earlier this year.
The measure is ‘very important in the equal treatment of Dutch nationals who live abroad,’ Leiden University lecturer Simon Otjes told Dutch News.
In total the expat vote will determine around 0.2 of a senate seat. Although this might sound very little, the electoral college vote could have a key role in helping one or more parties to an extra place in the senate, Otjes said.
Every seat will count after the May vote because the coalition government does not control a majority of senate seats and relies on opposition support to pass controversial legislation. It is likely to be even more reliant on either the left or right-wing opposition from May onwards.
In total, 129 candidates from 27 countries representing 12 political parties, and one independent candidate, are competing for the votes of Dutch expats.
‘This shows just how seriously the election is being taken,’ Keij, who is leading the D66 campaign, said.
Thank you for donating to DutchNews.nl.
We could not provide the Dutch News service, and keep it free of charge, without the generous support of our readers. Your donations allow us to report on issues you tell us matter, and provide you with a summary of the most important Dutch news each day.Make a donation