With just one day to go before the local elections, national politicians are out in force in an effort to gather more votes.
Be it baking stroopwafels, serving beer, chatting in markets or planting trees – party leaders are doing their utmost to enthuse voters. Only some 50% of the electorate are expected to cast their votes on March 19.
The elections are considered more crucial than usual because the government is planning to transfer considerable powers to local control from next year.
Labour leader Diederick Samsom told news website nu.nl he would guarantee no areas with a Labour-led local authority would not be able to provide proper care services when they become responsible for home nursing and disabled care in 2015.
The national government is transferring responsibility for care services to the municipalities, while cutting budgets by 40%, and many local officials are worried they will not be able to cope.
‘I can guarantee every council with a Labour management will organise the care properly,’ Samsom said.
The Labour party (PvdA) is set to lose a large number of council seats in the local elections and may no longer be the largest party in Amsterdam, where it has ruled for some 60 years.
Almost half of voters can’t name any local councillors – a figure that rises to six in 10 of the under 35s, according to research for the AD.
Councillors are most likely to be unknown in the big cities. In small villages, 66% of locals can name at least one councillor.
However, the Dutch local authorities’ association VNG expects councillors to become more visible as they take over more central government tasks.
Meanwhile, the mayor of the Limburg local authority area of Valkenburg aan de Geul has reported a possible case of vote rigging to the police. There have been earlier vote rigging reports in Soest, Roermond en Heusden.
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