As expected, the pro-farmers BBB is now the biggest party in the senate, or upper house of parliament, following Tuesday’s vote by provincial councillors and representatives of Dutch nationals outside the Netherlands.
The results mean the cabinet needs to find the support of opposition party senators to ensure more controversial policies can complete the parliamentary process.
In total, the four cabinet parties control 24 seats in the 75-seat upper house of parliament. This means that the 14 seats won by the combined PvdA/GroenLinks grouping are enough to pass legislation such as measures to combat nitrogen pollution.
Since the previous election in 2019, the far-right Forum voor Democratie has collapsed, retaining just one of its 12 seats as senators defected to other parties or became independents.
BBB 16 (new party)
VVD 10 (12)
CDA 6 (9)
GroenLinks 7 (8)
D66 5 (7)
JA21 3 (7, defections from Fvd)
PvdA 7 (6)
PVV 4 (5)
SP 3 (4)
ChristenUnie 3 (4)
PvdD 3 (3)
50Plus 1 (2)
FvD 2(12, but now down to 1)
The outgoing senate will meet for the last time next Tuesday and the new senate will be sworn in on June 13.
Being a senator is considered a part time job and the senate meets just once a week. Its role traditionally has been to scrutinise government legislation but the upper chamber has become more politicised as politics becomes increasingly fragmented.
For the first time this year, Dutch nationals abroad have been able to vote for the senate via a special electoral college. GroenLinks was the biggest part under Dutch expats, followed by the VVD and D66.
Eelco Keij, chairman of the foreign resident’s foundation, told Dutch News that Tuesday is a historic occasion.
“Not only does this reflect a new concrete step toward democratic influence by the Dutch abroad, but it has wider implications,” he said. “From now on, every four years, all political parties will have to take their constituency abroad into consideration and set up specific campaigns for them.”
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