Farmers’ party BBB is celebrating a massive win in the Provincial Council elections, projected to take 15 seats in the Senate. The voters have chosen, BBB leader Caroline van der Plas said, “and how.” The left-wing combination GroenLinks/PvdA could also become the biggest party in the Senate. The coalition will lose around 8 seats, according to the latest prognosis.
According to Van der Plas, many voters did not feel seen, heard, or taken seriously by the Cabinet. This group of voters normally stays at home, but on Wednesday, they made themselves heard, she said. “Those people went to the polls today.”
Van der Plas called on the Cabinet to pay attention to this signal from the voters. “The coalition should take this very seriously,” she said to NOS. “If this happened to me, I would be gone.”
Voters have clearly turned their backs on the coalition, PvdA leader Attje Kuiken also said. “It is a fact that they must take this seriously,” Kuiken said. “And that a lot of things have to be fundamentally different.” The Cabinet is unable to solve the housing crisis and is letting “nature deteriorate,” she said. “Of course, the voter sees that too.” She pointed out how the voters turned to an entirely new party – BBB – and congratulated Van der Plas. “She ran a great campaign.”
According to the PvdA leader, there is uncertainty among many voters, and they are not sure what to expect from politicians. “Whether they can still make ends meet, whether they can find a house.” That is why many voters have voted for the PvdA, according to Kuiken, but the Cabinet “should take this into account.”
The elections did not bring the VVD “the profit we wanted,” party leader and Prime Minister Mark Rutte said at a party gathering in Den Bosch. He “also wants to take responsibility.” Rutte congratulated Caroline van der Plas on the BBB’s major victory. “She did that very well with her party.”
Rutte does not expect the coalition’s projected loss to have direct consequences for the country’s governability. “I also think that the Cabinet can remain stable in the coming years because they are parties that also want to take responsibility,” he said to NOS. The Cabinet is already governing without a majority in the Senate, he pointed out.
The CDA’s major defeat in the provincial elections is “an extremely bitter pill” to swallow, party leader Wopke Hoekstra said. “All of us, including me, the Ministers, the parliamentary party have a great responsibility to regain confidence,” Hoekstra said. The party must do that “through content, stability, and cooperation. Because that is ultimately what the Netherlands needs.”
Hoekstra plans to regain trust “from street to street, from house to house. We are going to do our stinking, stinking best for that.”
D66-leader Sigrid Kaag thinks her party can be “quite satisfied” with the six seats in the Senate, according to the latest prognosis, “despite all the opposition.” That means a loss of one seat. Kaag is proud that the D66 conducted a campaign “that suits us on content,” she said in front of a packed house of attendees on election night in Utrecht. According to the deputy prime minister, the party stood for its ideals, especially on tackling the nitrogen crisis and climate change, and has propagated “a progressive agenda.” Kaag concluded: “We will continue courageously.”
Kaag congratulated Van der Plas and the BBB on the “phenomenal result.” She also congratulated Volt and JA21.
ChristenUnie leader Mirjam Bikker called election night “an exciting evening.” Bikker said she was grateful for the trust of the hundreds of thousands of voters who voted for ChristenUnie again. “In a troubled, polarizing time, which also weighs heavily on many people at home, they opt for working together, hopeful and constructive. For families and the vulnerable, for care for creation and fair food, for bridging contradictions.”
FvD leader Thierry Baudet called the provisional results of the elections “wonderful” and “a very good start.” According to the provisional count, his party will lose a considerable number of seats. “What this election result shows is that what we are doing together is a long-term project.” According to him, FvD should “give the Dutch population more time.”
Four years ago, the FvD became the largest party in the Provincial Council elections, winning 12 seats. Since then, the FvD has split into several divisions. The party currently has one seat in the Senate. It now seems that FvD will soon have two, although Baudet is hoping for three. “We are represented in all provinces; the FvD sound continues to be heard.”
Baudet congratulated “the big seat winners” of the election, although he said that the last few years have shown how “relative the impact of seats is.” He wished the big winner BBB good luck. “But we will see how BBB can’t get anything done.” After his speech, which lasted over 20 minutes, Baudet immediately left the room.
Party for the animals, PvdD, continues to grow “like organic cabbage,” said party leader Esther OUwehand. The provisional results have the party on a slight win. “We win in elections again, and that is very good!.”
Volt leader Laurens Dassen called it “great” that his party may soon be represented in the provinces and the Senate. It means that the “optimistic” and ’progressive” sound of the still young party appeals to voters, he said to NOS. He thinks the coalition’s projected loss “will be a blow” to the Cabinet. “They will have to seek even more cooperation in the Senate. We are prepared to cooperate, but then clear choices will have to be made for the future.”
Dassen also noted that the voters have given BBB “a big mandate.” But that comes with great responsibility, he added.
PVV leader Geert Wilders is pleased that the coalition has “deservedly suffered a major blow” in the election. “The Cabinet has had its day, and the PVV has the best time ahead!”
SP leader Lilian Marijnissen believes her party is on the right track and called it “a great pity that it did not translate into gains in the Senate.” The result is not what she had hoped for. She added that the BBB’s win is “a very thick middle finger” to the established order. The SP will take note of that. “Almost all established parties are in the red, but the Cabinet is getting a big blow here, and that will undoubtedly have consequences.”
Annabel Nanninga thinks her party did really well. “We are really holding our own in a wave of minuses and red numbers,” she told NOS.
Reporting by ANP and NL Times
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