News of: Thursday, March 04 2010,

Local elections: Social Democrats lose, but remain biggest party in Amsterdam

The Social Democrats have lost strongly in yesterday's local elections that were held in the Netherlands.

In Amsterdam, the Social Democrats lose 5 of their 20 seats. They are still the largest party in Amsterdam, which they have been ever since the second World War.

Winners in Amsterdam are the Liberal Democrats (D66), who went from 2 to 7 seats. Green Left remains on 7 seats.

The current coalition that governs Amsterdam, consisting of the Social Democrats and Green Left, is no longer feasible, as it lacks a majority in the 45 seat city council.

With a turnout of 47.8%, less than half of the Amsterdam voters cared to make use of their democratic right. Nationally, the turnout was 53%, the lowest in the history of local elections in the Netherlands.

Most attention went to the towns of Almere and The Hague, because these were the only two places where the PVV took part. The PVV ('Freedom Party') is a right wing, anti-immigration and particularly anti-islam party. It has said its main and not negotiable issue will be the ban of headscarves (such as worn by Islamic women) in public spaces. For all other political parties this is an impossible demand.
The PVV became the largest party in Almere, and the second party in The Hague.