First exit polls show sharp election losses for many parties, big wins for newcomers

NL Times also published a separate article about how the projected outcome will affect the Eerste Kamer, the upper house of Dutch Parliament.

Polls in the Netherlands closed at 9 p.m. in the 2023 Provincial Council elections, which determines both the political leadership of the provincial governments, but also indirectly determines the composition of the Eerste Kamer, the upper house of Dutch parliament. The first exit poll was presented minutes later, featuring results for the province of Noord-Holland, followed by Overijssel and Noord-Brabant, all three of which showed dramatic victories for BoerBurgerBeweging (BBB), which was formed in recent years to represent the interests of farmers and the agriculture sector. Newcomers Ja21 and Volt both saw significant victories, while FvD and CDA showed substantial losses.

Noord-Holland puts BBB as the biggest party

With a big victory for the BBB comes a dramatic loss predicted for Forum voor Democratie (FvD) in Noord-Holland. The far-right party, led by Thierry Baudet, took 15.3 percent of the vote in 2019, but that total plunged to just 2.6 percent in Wednesday’s vote, according to the exit poll from Ipsos, which was commissioned by NOS. The right-wing BBB easily took the most votes, with 14.3 percent of the total.

BBB was followed by Prime Minister Mark Rutte’s VVD, with 13.3 percent of the vote. That reflected a drop of 1.2 percentage points, roughly within the margin of error. Left-wing GroenLinks saw their vote total fall from 15.2 percent down to 12.0 percent.

Four years ago, more than one-third of Noord-Holland voters showed support for the national coalition parties. That fell to 26.9 percent, according to the first exit poll. The VVD is in a national coalition with D66, which fell from 9.9 percent down to 7.5 percent. The other large coalition party, CDA, saw their vote total cut from 6.8 to 3.9 percent. Coalition partner ChristenUnie also saw a drop from 3.1 percent to 2.2 percent in Noord-Holland.

Ja21, which split from FvD, took 5.1 percent in Noord-Holland, in what is that party’s first Provincial Council election. Another newcomer, Volt, also took 5.0 percent of the vote, according to the exit poll. The Labor party (PvdA) also scored with a 1.9 percentage point improvement to 11.7 percent, while animal rights party PvdD saw a similar 1.9 percent gain to 7.5 percent.

Nearly a third of Overijssel votes for BBB

The BBB also became the biggest party in Overijssel, where the party originated. The BBB took almost one-third of the vote, according to the exit poll, winning 31.3 percent in its first election. Two other newcomers also appeared to win the right to participate in the Overijssel provincial council, with Ja21 taking 3.3 percent of the vote, and Volt winning 2.7 percent.

The only established party to outperform its position in 2019 was the PvdD, which saw their total rise from 3.0 percent to 3.8 percent.

Every other party on the Overijssel council suffered losses, with FvD showing the biggest decrease in support from 13.3 percent down to 2.7 percent. CDA’s support was halved to 8.5 percent, and the VVD saw support fall by more than a third to 8.0 percent.

GroenLinks, PvdA, ChristenUnie, PVV, and D66 all saw their vote totals fall by around 2 to 2.5 percent.

Four years ago, about 44 percent of Overijssel voters supported the current national coalition parties. That fell to 26.2 percent, according to the first exit poll.

Noord-Brabant another big win for BBB

The BBB also became the biggest party in Noord-Brabant, at the expense of the FvD. The right-wing BBB took 19.5 percent of the vote there, according to Ipsos and NOS. The party easily overtook Rutte’s VVD, which had 14.4 percent of the vote, down from 16.2 percent in 2019.

It was FvD and CDA that appeared to show the most significant losses in the southern province. The FvD won 14.4 percent of ballots four years ago, but that support evaporated to just 2.7 percent on Wednesday. The CDA, a popular Christian party in one of the more religious regions of the Netherlands, saw support slashed by more than half, from 13.3 percent down to 5.8 percent.

Support in Noord-Brabant for the national coalition parties fell from 40.2 percent of the voting public, down to an even 29 percent. D66 fell by 1.7 percentage points down to 7.1 percent, and a partnership of ChristenUnie and SGP dipped slightly to 1.7 percent.

The BBB was not the only party to perform well in Noord-Brabant. In their first elections, Ja21 took 4.2 percent of the vote, and Volt took 3.0 percent. Labor also rose by nearly 2 percent to 8.2 percent, while PvdD and Lokaal Brabant showed more modest gains of 0.5 percent or less.

Other parties that saw a reduction of support from about 1 to 2 percent included SP, GroenLinks, PVV, and 50Plus.

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