Voting has ended in the provincial and water board elections and, according to the first NOS exit poll, the pro-farmers BBB is the big winner in Noord Holland, which includes Amsterdam, Amstelveen, Alkmaar and Haarlem.
The poll suggests that the VVD will be the second biggest party in the province, losing one seat on four years ago. D66 is also poised to take a big hit, losing two of its six seats. The BBB, by contrast, will win 9 seats on the council, with 14.3% of the vote.
Two other newcomers, Volt and JA21, are also on target to win three seats on the provincial council, which is based in Haarlem. The far right Forum voor Democratie, which was the biggest party in the province in 2019, may hang on to just one seat. Its vote has crumbled from 15.3% to just 2.6%.
Noord-Holland council is currently run by a coalition made up of the VVD, GroenLinks, PvdA and D66.
Turnout in the provincial elections is up on four years ago and the interest appears to have caught some polling stations in Amsterdam unawares. Dutch News is aware of at least two people who were told they could not vote because there were no more ballot papers available.
‘It is a scandal that this can happen in the Netherlands,’ the 33-year-old woman told Dutch News. ‘They know how many people are eligible to vote, so it is a simple sum to work out how many polling papers are needed. What sort of a democracy are we living in?’
Dozens of people were turned away from the polling station, she said.
According to local broadcaster AT5, new polling papers were later delivered to several locations. However, local VVD leader Claire Martens has said she plans to raise the issue with council officials on Thursday.
Wednesday’s vote is for members of the 12 provincial councils and the 21 water boards. The provincial vote is crucial because the elected councillors will go on to elect the senate in May.
Broadcaster NOS will publish its forecast for the make-up of the new senate at 10pm.
In total, 13.3 million people were eligible to vote for the provincial councils and a further 900,000 non-Dutch nationals could vote for the water boards.
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