The CDA only got more votes in two of the 337 municipalities, of which the Provincial Council election results were known on Thursday evening. In the rest of the municipalities, the Christian Democrats lost votes. In Tubbergen, the party lost almost a third of its supporters, according to the provisional prognosis of the ANP Election Service. At the time, five municipalities still had to submit their results.
In Tubbergen, the CDA got 30.6 percent fewer votes than in the previous Provincial Council elections in 2019. In Nederweert, the party saw 28.5 percent of its votes evaporate, and in DInkelland, 28.1 percent. Only in Goeree-Overflakkee and Utrecht did the CDA make minimal gains, namely 392 (+0.5 percent) and 791 (+0.3 percent) more votes.
The loss was limited to well below 10 percent in dozens of municipalities, including The Hague, Renkum, and Schouwen-Duioveland. In many others, the party lost more, sometimes much more, than 10 percent of their voters, including in Laarbeek, Altena, and Dalfsen.
The CDA suffered a loss in all provinces, according to the provisional prognosis based on almost 99 percent of the votes. The party took the most significant losses in Overijssel, only keeping four of its nine seats. In Noord-Brabant, Friesland, and Gelderland, the CDA saw its seats halved to four. In Limburg, the party got five seats this election compared to nine in the previous one.
In Noord-Holland, the number of seats halved from four to two. In Zeeland and Drenthe, the CDA also gave up two seats, ending up with five and three, respectively. In Flevoland, Utrecht, Zuid-Holland, and Groningen, the CDA lost one seat.
Of the 74 seats in Provincial Councils the CDA won four years ago, only 42 remain. In the Senate, the party is heading for a loss of four seats and will likely have five left. The new Provincial Councils and the electoral colleges will elect a new Senate on May 30.
CDA youth questioning party’s leadership
The Christian Democrats, led by Wopke Hoekstra since the end of 2020, also lost in the municipal elections last year and in the parliamentary elections in 2021. After this third major loss, the CDA youth question Hoekstra’s leadership. In an interview with NRC, CDJA chairman Kevin Klinkspoor and vice-chairman Derek Groot said Hoekstra does not broadcast the CDA story well. They believe the party needs an “image consultant.”
They are worried about the CDA’s continued existence and would like to see more urgency at the top, which is “avoiding difficult themes.” Wednesday’s massive loss is not because of the CDA’s ideas or enthusiasm. According to Groot, there is a clear gap between the CDA and society. The CDJA directors think their party should spend “a healthy time” in the opposition “to have space to work out our plans.” They pointed out that the CDA has only been an opposition party three times since its foundation.
The CDA needs to focus on spreading its message. “If we see that Cabinet participation has too much influence on being able to propagate it, we must dare to make the choice and say that the message is more important to us than being part of the government,” said Groot. “There is a difference between adding a little water to the wine and adding a little wine to the water. We’re doing the latter.”
Reporting by ANP
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