The BoerBurgerBeweging (BBB) is on a path towards winning a major victory in the water board elections, said the association of Dutch water boards. Voters in the Netherlands were able to cast a ballot for their local water boards on Wednesday along with their ballot for their provincial council. The right-wing BBB, which is backed by farming and agriculture interests, won a plurality of seats in at least eight of the 12 provincial councils, and was on pace to hold as many as 17 of the 75 seats in the national Senate as a result.
The association of water boards said on Thursday afternoon that it has received vote totals from 12 of the 21 water boards in the Netherlands. BBB “seems to be making major gains in the water board elections,” the organization said. They expect to receive data from the remaining boards on Friday.
“The preliminary results that have already been received show that BBB will become the largest party in at least six water boards,” the Unie van Waterschappen said. “WaterNatuurlijk, a partnership between GroenLinks, D66 and Volt for the water boards, also showed good election results and seems to be the largest in at least four water boards. The PvdA also seems to be winning seats on the water boards,” the association continued. “The CDA, on the other hand, seems to be losing many seats in the water boards. VVD and 50Plus are also lagging behind the results in 2019.”
In the Netherlands, the water boards manage a myriad of issues related to water management, including flood prevention, drought preparedness, pumping water during storms, and maintenance and operation of dikes and locks. They also can be involved in water purification.
The higher voter turnout has led to delays in counting ballots, a process which is mainly performed by hand. Turnout for the Provincial Council elections was on track to be at the highest point in nearly four decades.
“Many water boards have not yet received all the results from the municipalities,” the association said. It said possible causes include the large number of political parties participating in the elections, but also that those counting the votes are simply tired and fatigued. A spokesperson also told ANP that many municipalities count the Provincial Council ballots first, before moving on to the water board ballots.
The twelve waterboards that submitted data thus far show voter turnout ranging from 47 to 59 percent. More conclusive voter turnout figures regarding the water boards will be released on Friday.