2021 Dutch General Election
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2021 Dutch General Election

2021 Dutch general election
Netherlands
← 2017 15-17 March 2021 Next →

All 150 seats in the House of Representatives
76 seats needed for a majority
Turnout78.71% (Decrease 3.22 pp)
VVD Mark Rutte 21.9% 34 +1
D66 Sigrid Kaag 15.0% 24 +5
PVV Geert Wilders 10.8% 17 -3
CDA Wopke Hoekstra 9.5% 15 -4
SP Lilian Marijnissen 6.0% 9 -5
PvdA Lilianne Ploumen 5.7% 9 0
GL Jesse Klaver 5.2% 8 -6
FvD Thierry Baudet 5.0% 8 +6
PvdD Esther Ouwehand 3.8% 6 +1
CU Gert-Jan Segers 3.4% 5 0
Volt Laurens Dassen 2.4% 3 New
JA21 Joost Eerdmans 2.4% 3 New
SGP Kees van der Staaij 2.1% 3 0
DENK Farid Azarkan 2.0% 3 0
50+ Liane den Haan 1.0% 1 -3
BBB Caroline van der Plas 1.0% 1 New
BIJ1 Sylvana Simons 0.8% 1 +1
Tweede Kamerverkiezingen 2021.svg
Largest political party by municipality
before
Mark Rutte Mark Rutte
VVD

General elections were held in the Netherlands from 15 to 17 March 2021 to elect all 150 members of the House of Representatives.[1]

The election had originally been scheduled to take place on 17 March. However, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the government decided to open some polling stations two days in advance to ensure safe voting for elderly and immunocompromised citizens.[1][2] Citizens aged 70 years or older were also given the opportunity to vote by post.[1]

The election was held two days before the 2021 Curaçao general election.

Background

Previous election

The 2017 general election was held after a five-year coalition government between the People's Party for Freedom and Democracy (VVD) and Labour Party (PvdA). The PvdA suffered heavy losses in the election, being reduced from 38 to 9 seats, while the VVD lost 8 seats, falling from 41 to 33 but remaining the largest party. The Party for Freedom (PVV) came in second with 20 seats, 5 more than it won in the 2012 election, while the Christian Democratic Appeal (CDA) gained 6 seats to win 19 in total. Democrats 66 (D66) gained 7 to win 19, GroenLinks (GL) gained 10 to win 14, and the Socialist Party (SP) lost 1 to win 14. The election also saw two new parties, Denk and Forum for Democracy (FvD), enter the House of Representatives, winning 3 and 2 seats, respectively. Four other smaller parties maintained representation in the lower chamber: Christian Union (CU) and Party for the Animals (PvdD) with 5 seats each, 50PLUS with 4 seats, and the Reformed Political Party (SGP) with 3 seats.

The third Rutte cabinet was inaugurated after the longest coalition formation in Dutch history, with 225 days between the election and the cabinet being sworn in.[3] The cabinet was led by Prime Minister Mark Rutte, who presided over a coalition consisting of the People's Party for Freedom and Democracy (VVD), Christian Democratic Appeal (CDA), Democrats 66 (D66) and Christian Union (CU). The coalition held a narrow majority in both legislative chambers at the time of the cabinet's inauguration, with 76 of 150 seats in the House of Representatives and 38 of 75 seats in the Senate.[4] Following the 2019 Senate election, it had a minority of 32 seats in the upper chamber. After Wybren van Haga was expelled from the VVD faction in 2019, the coalition lost its majority in the House of Representatives.[5] On 15 January 2021, two months before the election, the third Rutte cabinet resigned following a parliamentary inquiry into the Dutch childcare benefits scandal, and continued as a demissionary cabinet.[6][7]

Electoral system

Pursuant to articles C.1, C.2 and C.3 of the electoral law, elections for the House of Representatives take place every four years in March. The 150 members of the House of Representatives are elected by open list proportional representation. The number of seats per list is determined using the D'Hondt method, effectively resulting in an electoral threshold of 1/150th (0.67%) of votes to secure a seat. Voters have the option to cast a preferential vote. The seats won by a list are first allocated to the candidates who, in preferential votes, have received at least 25 percent of the number of votes needed for one seat (effectively 0.17% of the total votes), regardless of their placement on the electoral list. If multiple candidates from a list pass this threshold, their ordering is determined based on the number of votes received. Any remaining seats are allocated to candidates according to their placement on the electoral list.[8]

Participating parties

A record number of 89 parties registered with the Electoral Council in order to compete in the election.[9] Most parties, however, did not achieve (nationwide) ballot access, as they were not able to pay the EUR11,250 deposit and/or did not receive enough endorsements (30 for each of the 19 electoral districts in the European Netherlands, and 10 for the Caribbean Netherlands).

The following 37 parties met the requirements to participate in the election:[10]

List Party Lijsttrekker Main ideology Position 2017 result Districts
1 People's Party for Freedom and Democracy VVD Mark Rutte Conservative liberalism Centre-right 21.3% (33 seats) 20
2 Party for Freedom PVV Geert Wilders Right-wing populism Right-wing to far-right 13.1% (20 seats) 20
3 Christian Democratic Appeal CDA Wopke Hoekstra Christian democracy Centre-right 12.4% (19 seats) 20
4 Democrats 66 D66 Sigrid Kaag Social liberalism Centre 12.2% (19 seats) 20
5 GroenLinks GL Jesse Klaver Green politics Centre-left to left-wing 9.1% (14 seats) 20
6 Socialist Party SP Lilian Marijnissen Democratic socialism Left-wing 9.1% (14 seats) 20
7 Labour Party PvdA Lilianne Ploumen Social democracy Centre-left 5.7% (9 seats) 20
8 Christian Union CU Gert-Jan Segers Christian democracy Syncretic 3.4% (5 seats) 20
9 Party for the Animals PvdD Esther Ouwehand Animal rights Left-wing 3.2% (5 seats) 20
10 50PLUS 50+ Liane den Haan Pensioners' interests Centre 3.1% (4 seats) 20
11 Reformed Political Party SGP Kees van der Staaij Christian right Right-wing 2.1% (3 seats) 20
12 DENK DENK Farid Azarkan Minority rights Centre-left 2.1% (3 seats) 20
13 Forum for Democracy FVD Thierry Baudet National conservatism Right-wing to far-right 1.8% (2 seats) 20
14 BIJ1 BIJ1 Sylvana Simons Egalitarianism Far-left 0.3% (0 seats) 20
15 JA21 JA21 Joost Eerdmans Fortuynism Right-wing -- 20
16 Code Orange CO Richard de Mos Direct democracy Syncretic -- 20
17 Volt Netherlands VOLT Laurens Dassen European federalism Centre -- 20
18 NIDA NIDA Nourdin El Ouali Islamic democracy Syncretic -- 20
19 Pirate Party PPNL Matthijs Pontier Pirate politics Syncretic 0.3% (0 seats) 20
20 Libertarian Party LP Robert Valentine Libertarianism Right-wing 0.01% (0 seats) 20
21 JONG JONG Jaron Tichelaar Youth politics Centre -- 19
22 Splinter SPL Femke Merel van Kooten Social liberalism Centre-left -- 19
23 Farmer-Citizen Movement BBB Caroline van der Plas Agrarianism Centre-right -- 19
24 NLBeter NLB Esther van Fenema Public sector interests Syncretic -- 19
25 Henk Krol List LHK Henk Krol Progressive conservatism Centre-right -- 19
26 OpRecht OR Michael Ruperti National conservatism Right-wing -- 19
27 Jesus Lives JL Florens van der Spek Evangelism Right-wing 0.03% (0 seats) 16
28 Proud of the Netherlands ToN Sander van den Raadt Conservative liberalism Right-wing -- 13
29 Ubuntu Connected Front UCF Regillio Vaarnold Ubuntuism Centre-left -- 13
30 Blank list Anna Zeven COVID-19 scepticism Centre -- 12
31 Party of Unity PvdE Arnoud van Doorn Islamism Syncretic -- 8
32 The Party Party DFP Johan Vlemmix Joke party Syncretic -- 8
33 Free and Social Netherlands VSN Bas Filippini COVID-19 scepticism Centre -- 6
34 We Are the Netherlands WZNL Erwin Versteeg Ethnic nationalism Far-right -- 6
35 Modern Netherlands MN Niels Heeze E-democracy Syncretic -- 4
36 The Greens DG Otto ter Haar Green politics Centre -- 2
37 Party for the Republic PvdR Bruno Braakhuis Republicanism Centre -- 2

Campaign

Debates

Dutch general election debates, 2021[11]
Date Organisers Channel Venue     P  Present    A  Absent invitee   NI  Non-invitee 
26 February NOS NPO Radio 1 Oude Zaal, Binnenhof, The Hague[12] P P P P P P P P P P P P P
28 February RTL Nieuws RTL 4 Felix Meritis, Amsterdam NI NI NI P P P P NI NI P NI NI P
15 March EenVandaag NPO 1 Koninklijke Schouwburg, The Hague[13] NI NI NI P P P NI NI P P NI NI P
16 March NOS Statenpassage, Binnenhof, The Hague[14] NI NI NI P P P P NI P P P NI P

Opinion polls

Opinion polls NL 2017-2021.svg

Results

At least one polling station per municipality already opened its doors on Monday 15 March 2021 to offer people in the vulnerable target group the opportunity to vote at a quiet moment.

The official results were published by the Electoral Council on 26 March 2021.[15]

Tweede Kamer 2021.svg
PartyVotes%Seats+/-
People's Party for Freedom and Democracy2,279,13021.8734+1
Democrats 661,565,86115.0224+5
Party for Freedom1,124,48210.7917-3
Christian Democratic Appeal990,6019.5015-4
Socialist Party623,3715.989-5
Labour Party597,1925.7390
GroenLinks537,3085.168-6
Forum for Democracy523,0835.028+6
Party for the Animals399,7503.846+1
Christian Union351,2753.3750
Volt Netherlands252,4802.423New
JA21246,6202.373New
Reformed Political Party215,2492.0730
DENK211,2372.0330
50PLUS106,7021.021-3
Farmer-Citizen Movement104,3191.001New
BIJ187,2380.841+1
Code Orange40,7310.390New
NIDA33,8340.320New
Splinter30,3280.290New
Pirate Party22,8160.2200
JONG15,2970.150New
Trots op Nederland13,1980.1300
Henk Krol List9,2640.090New
NLBeter8,6570.080New
List 308,2770.080New
Libertarian Party5,5460.0500
OpRecht5,4490.050New
Jesus Lives5,0150.0500
The Party Party3,7440.040New
Ubuntu Connected Front1,8800.020New
Free and Social Netherlands9420.010New
Party of Unity8040.010New
We Are the Netherlands5530.010New
Modern Netherlands2450.000New
Party for the Republic2550.000New
The Greens1190.0000
Total10,422,852100.001500
Valid votes10,422,85299.62
Invalid/blank votes39,8250.38
Total votes10,462,677100.00
Registered voters/turnout13,293,18678.71
Source: Kiesraad
Popular vote
VVD
21.87%
D66
15.02%
PVV
10.79%
CDA
9.50%
SP
5.98%
PvdA
5.73%
GL
5.16%
FVD
5.02%
PvdD
3.84%
CU
3.37%
VOLT
2.42%
JA21
2.37%
SGP
2.07%
DENK
2.03%
50+
1.02%
BBB
1.00%
BIJ1
0.84%
Others
1.97%
Parliamentary seats
VVD
22.67%
D66
16.00%
PVV
11.33%
CDA
10.00%
SP
6.00%
PvdA
6.00%
GL
5.33%
FVD
5.33%
PvdD
4.00%
CU
3.33%
VOLT
2.00%
JA21
2.00%
SGP
2.00%
DENK
2.00%
50+
0.67%
BBB
0.67%
BIJ1
0.67%

Government formation

Rutte claimed the result was a vote of confidence in the VVD and has ruled out a coalition with the PVV and FvD.[16][17] He was expected to form a four-party government with D66, CDA, and smaller parties.[18][19]

On 23 March, Rutte said that he preferred a coalition with a new right-wing party called JA21, which has eight seats in the Senate that can help form a government majority in both chambers; however, this proposal could potentially meet with resistance from D66 due to disagreements on issues such as climate change, EU integration, and migration policies. If a coalition were formed including CU, there would be differences on medico-ethical issues with D66.[17] Rutte could also potentially speak to left-wing parties, such as the Socialist Party (SP), PvdA, GL, or Volt, if other attempts fail. SP leader Lilian Marijnissen said that it was very unlikely that she would join a VVD-led coalition but did not rule it out completely. PvdA leader Lilianne Ploumen said she would want to sit alone with one other party, while GL leader Jesse Klaver said he is open to a progressive coalition with VVD and D66, despite the party's poor election performance.[17]

While Rutte was in the process of negotiations to form a new coalition, informateur Kajsa Ollongren (Democrats 66) was photographed by a journalist of the Algemeen Nederlands Persbureau as she was leaving Parliament, with a document from the coalition negotiations under her arm.[20] The document contained the note "position elsewhere" next to the name of Pieter Omtzigt of the CDA, who has been a vocal critic of Rutte and played a key role in exposing the child welfare scandal that forced the resignation of Rutte's previous cabinet.[21] This photograph caused speculation about whether Rutte was planning to sideline Omtzigt, but Rutte initially denied any involvement in the matter.[22] However, after further notes emerged confirming he had discussed the possibility of Omtzigt as minister, he said he had "misremembered", and was accused by numerous opposition leaders of having lied to the media and the Dutch people.[23] Parliament held a vote of no-confidence in Rutte as prime minister, which narrowly failed, but D66 and the CDA, which served in Rutte's previous cabinet, instead submitted a motion of censure against Rutte as parliamentary leader; this motion was passed by a large majority, with only Rutte's own VVD voting against.[24][25] Informateurs Wouter Koolmees and Tamara van Ark resigned after the scandal, and were replaced by veteran informateur Herman Tjeenk Willink of the PvdA.[26]

References

  1. ^ a b c "Vervroegd stemmen wordt mogelijk bij Tweede Kamerverkiezingen 2021". Rijksoverheid (in Dutch). 30 October 2020. Retrieved 2021.
  2. ^ "Ollongren wil verkiezingen uitsmeren over 15, 16 en 17 maart". NOS (in Dutch). 30 October 2020. Retrieved 2020.
  3. ^ "Rutte III: 76 kikkers in de kruiwagen". De Telegraaf. 25 October 2017. Retrieved 2017.
  4. ^ Gerard Vroegindeweij (18 March 2017). "Kan CU in kabinet en SGP coalitie gedogen?". Reformatorisch Dagblad. Retrieved 2017.
  5. ^ "76ste Kamerlid vooral bekend om gedoe met zijn pandjes". nos.nl (in Dutch). Retrieved 2020.
  6. ^ Amaro, Silvia (15 January 2021). "Dutch government resigns after childcare benefits scandal". CNBC. Retrieved 2021.
  7. ^ Henley, Jon (14 January 2021). "Dutch government faces collapse over child benefits scandal". The Guardian. Retrieved 2021.
  8. ^ Nederland, Parlementsverkiezingen, 15 maart 2017: Eindrapport (Report). OSCE/ODIHR. 7 June 2017. Retrieved 2017.
  9. ^ Kiesraad (30 December 2020). "Record aantal (89) partijnamen geregistreerd voor Tweede Kamerverkiezing 2021". www.kiesraad.nl (in Dutch). Retrieved 2021.
  10. ^ "37 partijen nemen deel aan Tweede Kamerverkiezing". Kiesraad (in Dutch). 5 February 2021. Retrieved 2021.
  11. ^ "166 - Verkiezingsdebatten: hoe je ze wint of verliest". Betrouwbare Bronnen (in Dutch). Vriend van de Show. 8 February 2021. Retrieved 2021.
  12. ^ "Nederland Kiest: het NOS Radiodebat". Over de NOS (in Dutch). 19 February 2021. Retrieved 2021.
  13. ^ "Het EenVandaag-lijstrekkersdebat [sic]: een kijkwijzer" [The EenVandaag lijsttrekker debate]. nrc.nl (in Dutch). 15 March 2021. Retrieved 2021.
  14. ^ "NOS-slotdebat: wie neemt het op tegen wie?" [NOS final debate: Who will debate who?]. NOS (in Dutch). 25 February 2021. Retrieved 2021.
  15. ^ "Bekendmaking uitslag Tweede Kamerverkiezing 2021". Kiesraad (in Dutch). Retrieved 2021.
  16. ^ "Dutch election: PM Mark Rutte claims victory and fourth term". www.bbc.co.uk. 18 March 2021.
  17. ^ a b c "Rutte wil eerst formeren met JA21, dan met CU, daarna pas met links". NU.nl (in Dutch). Retrieved 2021.
  18. ^ "The European ripples of the Dutch election". www.newstatesman.com.
  19. ^ "4 Dutch election takeaways". Politico. 18 March 2021.
  20. ^ "Aantekeningen verkenner Ollongren zichtbaar op foto: 'Omtzigt functie elders'". NU (in Dutch). 25 March 2021. Retrieved 2021.
  21. ^ harrieverbon (31 December 2020). "Pieter Omtzigt en de toeslagenaffaire". Harrie Verbon (in Dutch). Retrieved 2021.
  22. ^ "Rutte: Kaag en ik hebben tijdens verkenning niets gezegd over CDA-Kamerlid Omtzigt". nos.nl (in Dutch). Retrieved 2021.
  23. ^ "Prime minister denies lying but won't reveal who warned him about Omtzigt comment". DutchNews.nl. 1 April 2021. Archived from the original on 1 April 2021.
  24. ^ Holligan, Anna (2 April 2021). "Dutch PM Rutte narrowly survives no-confidence vote". BBC. Archived from the original on 2 April 2021.
  25. ^ "Detail 2021D11744". www.tweedekamer.nl (in Dutch). Retrieved 2021.
  26. ^ "Tjeenk Willink benoemd tot informateur". www.parlement.com (in Dutch). Retrieved 2021.

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