With three weeks to go, nitrogen and housing top election issue list
Voting passes have begun dropping through letterboxes all over the country, with just three weeks before the provincial and waterboard elections.
Only Dutch nationals can vote in the provincial elections and they will pick a total of 570 new members for the 12 provincial councils.
By contrast, almost everyone living officially in the Netherlands is entitled to vote in water board elections, whether a student or long-term resident.
However, even though almost everyone over the age of 18 is entitled to vote, local authorities again appear to be making little effort to alert the Netherlands’ 900,000 foreign residents to their rights.
In Amsterdam and The Hague, for example, voting forms were accompanied by information leaflets in Dutch only.
According to research by RTL Nieuws, ‘nitrogen’ and ‘housing’ are by far the biggest themes for voters.
‘Housing’ is the main theme in urban areas, but ‘nitrogen’ is centre stage in more rural regions, the broadcaster said. ‘Immigration’ and ‘poverty’ are in third and fourth place, even though the provincial councils have relatively little influence on such issues.
The provincial elections are of crucial importance to the coalition government, because the provinces determine the make up of the senate on May 30. The cabinet does not control a majority of the 75 seats, and that means it needs the support of opposition parties to pass controversial legislation.
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