Elections are about the provinces, but the Senate is also clearly in the picture

What should you look out for at the Provincial Elections on 20 March? You naturally opt for the Provincial States members, but they determine the proportions in the Senate and are therefore indirectly national elections. Who can the coalition address if it loses the majority? What do the package of requirements look like? An analysis of all parties.


What should you look out for at the Provincial Elections on 20 March? You naturally opt for the Provincial States members, but they determine the proportions in the Senate and are therefore indirectly national elections. Who can the coalition address if it loses the majority? What do the package of requirements look like? An analysis of all parties.

VVD (13 seats): Searching for new profile in power

Over the past few months, the VVD has been working on the profile with various test balloons under the direction of Klaas Dijkhoff, but we no longer hear any of these plans during this election campaign. The VVD and Prime Minister Mark Rutte are betting on a 'vase' that should symbolize the Netherlands.

The liberals state that they do take responsibility for running the country, rather than leaving it on the side; a sneer at electoral competitors PVV and FvD. After being in power for nine years, the party is looking for a new story, and until then, governance continues to be the priority: the party calls it politically responsible.

In the last period of government, the VVD decided, following social pressure, to abolish the dividend tax and the party agreed to the expansion of the children's pardon. The spearhead of the party remains that after the economic crisis, the citizen must feel that things are going better. Although purchasing power figures show a plus, in the meantime households see groceries becoming more expensive and energy bills rising

The party says that the remaining government years are committed to a climate transition that must be bearable for the citizen and that does not chase companies from the Netherlands.

PVV (9 seats): "I'm not sticking out my finger"

This time the election slogan of the PVV is short and concise: Vote Rutte weg. Party leader Geert Wilders takes to the farm with familiar themes: borders close to Islam, de-Islamization and a ban on Islamic expressions.

Climate has been added as a relatively new theme. Wilders should not like climate measures that in his eyes only cost money.

But the spearhead remains anti-Islam and anti-immigration. Even the climate knows how to link the PVV. "A good climate doesn't help us if we have introduced sharia," Wilders said.

The tone in the campaign is different. In the run-up to the parliamentary elections in the spring of 2017, we were presented with ominous commercials from migrants who would find their way to the Netherlands. A "demographic tsunami" would "replace our population". We are being "colonized and isolated".

Wilders still does not miss an opportunity to name "the dangers of Islam", but he now prefers to use broadcasting time for political parties for beautiful atmospheric impressions of the Netherlands.

Wilders has adopted a different attitude towards the media in particular. Two years ago he skipped as many media appearances as possible, now the PVV leader shows himself regularly again. The stormy rise of the Forum for Democracy cannot be viewed separately from this. In the polls the PVV cannot but benefit from the possible loss of seat of the coalition. To a large extent, these seats go as it looks now to the competitor on the right: Baudet.

The working posture for the upcoming PVV senators is certainly fixed for Wilders. "I'm not sticking a finger yet, not even a pinch of my little finger to help this cabinet."

PVV leader Geert Wilders on campaign in Enschede. (Photo: ANP)

CDA (12 seats): Looking for stamp on cabinet

For CDA leader Sybrand Buma, the indirect senate elections may be decisive for his leadership. The Christian Democrats are taking a right-wing cultural-conservative course under him that has not made the CDA the big middle party of yesteryear. The supporters are stirring up and have two ambitious crown princes with vice-prime minister Hugo de Jonge and minister of Finance Wopke Hoekstra.

Under Buma, the party finds it difficult to put a stamp on this cabinet and, under pressure from party members, had to abandon the objections to the expansion of the children's pardon. If the party is asked what it has achieved in recent years of government, reference is made to the fact that the CDA does dare to assume government responsibility, the increase in purchasing power and investments in the public sector; showpieces of all coalition parties.

What is then really CDA? The introduction of civil service. A test at least, not a duty, in a limited scope and renamed to social service. A test that, incidentally, is not expected to start until the summer of this year.

Buma's most important achievement is that he clearly profiles himself in the coalition as a watchdog that ensures that the climate transition is feasible and affordable for the common man. At the same time, there is no party that does not want that.

D66 (10 seats): "Last generation that can tackle global warming"

After the departure of Alexander Pechtold, D66 seems to have taken a new course with Rob Jetten as his successor. The party is fully committed to climate change and is putting the Rutte-III cabinet in the window as the greenest cabinet ever. "We are the last generation that can do something about global warming," he says regularly.

There are no concrete measures yet, but announcing a CO2 tax for companies is already being celebrated as a victory. After the elections, D66 wants to ensure that the climate plans are implemented energetically and is clearly opposed to GroenLinks, the party that does well in the poll. The difference according to Jetten: D66 does take government responsibility and makes the greening, while GroenLinks walked away from the formation table and is now on the sidelines.

After the elections, Jetten will want to shift the course of the cabinet towards combating inequality. In the Kerdijk lecture that he recently delivered, he argued for a millionaire fee and saw growing gaps between highly and low educated Dutch people. Between those who benefit from globalization and those who struggle with a flexible job and unaffordable homes.

Leader of GroenLinks, Jesse Klaver, speaks with Prime Minister Mark Rutte prior to the debate about the calculation of the measures from the climate agreement. (Photo: ANP)

GroenLinks (4 seats): In search of resit for formation

Profit in the parliamentary elections and the best result in municipal elections ever for GroenLinks raise high expectations. The averages in polls show that voters can appreciate the leadership of Jesse Klaver and his course.

He assumes that the coalition will lose the majority in the senate and then turn to his party for support for the cabinet plans. Other parties that can help the coalition to a majority are scarce: SP and PVV are not considered parties that are willing to make agreements. FvD is also not seen as a candidate.

Klaver's call to sit down with him immediately after 20 March in a kind of "climate formation" was resolutely rejected by the coalition parties. VVD, CDA and D66 have not forgotten the collapsed formation where GroenLinks ran away from the formation table twice. Klaver is a year and a half late for a formation, it sounds.

The Klaver is also still blamed for the formation of the formation because it felt that VVD, CDA and D66 would "exceed a moral lower limit" with their proposed refugee policy. Klaver, however, is now prepared to uphold this cabinet and also the 'immoral' refugee policy with climate support in the senate.

His commitment: ensuring that the final climate agreement is implemented as green as possible.

SP (9 seats): Looking for profit after a change of leadership

You don't hear about SPC anymore about the National Care Fund. That was the election promise for 2017. It was also above all the promise of the previous group chairman Emile Roemer.

His successor Lilian Marijnissen is now heading towards her second election. The one for the municipal councils a year ago did not go well. "Oops", she thought when the first result became known.

Immediately after the parliamentary elections, the National Care Fund was said goodbye, but no one has to expect a change of course. The socialists still want the minimum wage to increase by 10 percent and through 'personal' emails Marijnissen tells party interested parties that the VAT increase must be reversed by introducing a millionaire tax.

At the same time, the party is struggling with the immigration position. Marijnissen does not exclude refugee deals with North African countries, a position that is not supported by the entire party. Marijnissen also questions labor migration, because that puts wages under pressure. That also creates division within her party

Like almost every SP leader, Marijnissen also had to defend itself against the criticism that the party has never taken government responsibility. "I am proud to be on the side of the painters, caregiver and teacher," she said during the RTL television debate .

The attitude against those in power is especially critical and against the activist. Had the government been mistaken about the rising energy bill? Not according to Marijnissen. "Rutte's cabinet has been lying."

SP leader Lilian Marijnissen (in the front right of the photo) during of the youngsters who truant for a more active climate policy. (Photo: ANP)

PvdA (8 seats): Back to 'hardcore social-democratic topics'

PvdA leader Lodewijk Asscher must prevent a third election defeat in a row. After reigning in the unnatural coalition with the VVD for five years, the party is once again looking for a familiar basis and finds it in the term 'certainty'.

The party had to be helped by a marketing agency to (re) find that message, but several parties do.

The PvdA is campaigning for the classical themes of living, work and education. "Hardcore social-democratic topics," Asscher himself said.

Climate therefore emphatically plays a smaller role here, the subject on which almost the entire Chamber tumbles. The subject also that his predecessor Diederik Samsom used; together with GroenLinks, he designed the climate law.

Asscher chooses his own role. His party is emphatically in the picture when the coalition loses the majority in the Senate, but he emphatically rejects the role as a tolerant. Asscher prefers to choose the language of the opposition, so he does not want to know anything about an outstretched hand from the government. "There has been a raised middle finger."

Through all the opposition and election rhetoric, the coalition only needs to listen to one statement by Asscher: "We support proposals that we think are good and not the bad."

ChristenUnie (3 seats): Junior party celebrating success after success

On the homepage of the website of the ChristenUnie prominent space has been set up for a remarkable block: RESULTS. The counter now stands at "84 valuable results from our work as a coalition party".

As the smallest coalition party, the party knows how difficult it can be to lose out, especially in a coalition with four parties. Governing is not a goal in itself for Gert-Jan Segers' party, they say at the party. The ChristenUnie shows what it can do as a small party to take government responsibility. Yes, you don't always get what you want, but that's how it works. The party exudes measures that it does not support not to defend and sometimes also to stand up to.

For example, it was the Christian Union that frustrated the opening of Lelystad Airport and saw an opening to widen the children's pardon. Christians can also be satisfied with regard to medical ethics. The expansion of euthanasia legislation has been advanced by investigations and the regulation of weed cultivation is being carried out in a limited trial that is doomed to fail. These are valuable results for the ChristenUnie that are not included in the list on the site.

The commitment to the remaining government term: the climate, tackling forced prostitution and tackling debt problems. The party also calls attention to the uncertainties that young people face: difficulty finding a permanent job, affordable housing and study stress.

CU leader Gert-Jan Segers in consultation in the Lower House with D66 leader Rob Jetten. (Photo: ANP)

Party for the Animals (2 seats): No concessions to ideals

For the Party for the Animals, just about everything has to be radically different. Not for nothing, because the survival of our planet is at stake. The party tries to change course from the sidelines, because they themselves are at the controls and make concessions.

"Always dropping a drop on the same stone until one goes straight through", is the tactic of party leader Marianne Thieme, the face of the party since it came to the Chamber in 2006.

The green message is successful because the number of seats is growing steadily. For the Senate, the Polling Guide, an average of various polls, also expects to double to four.

The Party for the Animals is a revolutionary party, says Thieme. The broad-based climate law is therefore not supported, because the measures do not go far enough for the party.

That way you can continue to tell your own story without sacrificing your ideals. "We do not dream when we can deliver the prime minister. We dream of where we are most effective," Thieme told NU.nl last summer.

50Plus (2 seats): Provincial elections as 'pension referendum'

At 50Plus, the provincial elections have been bombed into a referendum on pensions. The retirement provision is logically the party's favorite subject, but this year's retirement provision is very much in the spotlight.

An agreement between the government, employers and employees failed, so that pension discounts for 2020 are lurking.

It is not for nothing that Martin van Rooijen, pension expert, is leading the Senate. He has already written (in vain) two legislative proposals to prevent a reduction in pensions.

With the three Senate seats that the party can count on, according to Peilingwijzer, 50Plus can become a party that the coalition must take into account.

SGP (2 seats): Biblical demands in exchange for support

The SGP has already helped Rutte with support in the senate. To support this cabinet, Kees van der Staaij requires that the euthanasia law is not broadened and that vaccination is not imposed.

The Orthodox Christian party came under fire earlier this year for supporting the Nashville Declaration, the controversial anti-gay manifesto.

After the fuss - at Rutte the shivers ran down while reading the text - there will probably be business again with the SGP members.

THINK (none, compete for the first time to seat): tackle 'Established order' in senate

For DENK, a place in the senate would be a new milestone after the party came to the Lower House with three seats and managed to win council seats in thirteen municipalities for the first time. Senate list leader Selcuk Öztürk says he wants to tackle "the established order" in the senate.

FvD (none, competing for the first time for the seat): Strict requirements for cooperation

Forum for Democracy is taking part in the Senate elections for the first time, but according to the Polling Guide, FvD can count on eight (!) Seats in one fell swoop.

The young party can suddenly gain a dominant position. "If the coalition parties need us, we are suddenly very different in the competition," Baudet said.

But the party's package of requirements in exchange for support is firm to say the least. The cabinet must break with existing policies in the area of ​​migration (borders must close) and climate (stop the climate agreement). In addition, the referendum must be entered again.

In addition, the party wants the responsible ministers to rely on these files. That means dismissal for Mark Harbers (Secretary of State for Justice and Security), Eric Wiebes (Minister of Economic Affairs and Climate) and Kajsa Ollongren (Minister of the Interior).

"That is our commitment. Otherwise there is no business to do with us", said Henk Otten, FvD party leader for the Senate, in an interview with NU.nl.

REF: https://www.nu.nl/weekend/5793054/verkiezingen-gaan-over-de-provincies-maar-ook-de-eerste-kamer-is-nadrukkelijk-in-beeld.html

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