Dutch Greens double seats in polarised provincial elections
GroenLinks, the Dutch green party, have doubled their seats in the country’s upper house following provincial elections which saw success for radical parties on both the left and right.
The Greens now hold eight seats in the Netherlands’ senate and could be asked to enter the current ruling coalition, which lost its majority after a new far-right populist party – Forum voor Democratie – took the most votes.
Mark Rutte, the Dutch Prime Minister and leader of the centre-right VVD, said he would look for support from any “constructive” party.
This is likely to be GroenLinks or the Dutch labour party, PvdA.
Jesse Klaver, leader of the Greens, said the historic result for his party would give the green movement “even more fuel.”
He added: “Let us ensure that we tell our story about hope, optimism and empathy with even more fire, passion and urgency.”
Votes in provincial elections determine how many seats each party will have in local government and in the senate, the final make up of which will not be announced until May.
In Amsterdam GroenLinks, whose name means Green Left, took around a quarter of votes, making it the city’s most popular party.
They enjoyed success in other big cities too, including Utrecht and Leiden.
The animal rights party, Partij van de Dieren, also enjoyed success.
For the first time, it won seats in all provinces, meaning it will hold three seats in the national senate, an increase of one.
On the right, the spike in votes for Forum van Democratie has been partly seen as a response to the shooting in Utrecht this week, which left three people dead.
The parallel success of the Greens and far-right parties mirrors recent election results across the rest of mainland Europe.
In Germany Die Grünen follow closely behind Angela Merkel’s Christian Democrats in most polls, despite the continued success of the anti-immigration Alternative für Deutschland.