beelikej: (Voted)
[personal profile] beelikej
Okay, so: elections! This is a long text post, but with all that's going on in the world, I thought it would be good to write down how we do elections in the Netherlands.

Tomorrow I'm going to vote for a party that I want to be represented by in parliament. In the Netherlands we can choose between 24 (TWENTY FOUR!!) political parties, from conservatives (which we call liberals) to democrats (who call them selves liberals) to socialists (who are apparently called liberals in the USA) and many many in between (we have an animal party, a pirate party, a party for people who don't want to vote (sarcasm much), a senior citizen party, and so on and so on, 28 in total over all, but some parties are not on local lists)

There are 150 seats in parliament (Tweede Kamer, or the House of Representatives).
The party who gets the most votes will get the first chance to form a government and to do this they will work with as many parties as needed to get a majority in the House.
Currently we have a government of VVD (conservatives) plus PVDA (socialists), so all is not lost if the right wins ;-) Compromise is what our political system is all about.
The leader of the biggest party will become Prime Minister, the different minister posts will be divided over each party in the cabinet. (So for instance right now, we have a social minister for education and a conservative for housing, a social minister for finance, a conservative for defense, etc.)

According to the polls the conservative VVD will still be the biggest, but there is a extreme right wing politician who became very popular in the past year, who's right behind them. Fortunately the Green Left also has a lot of supporters and they too still have a good chance to gain a lot of seats.
Turn out for the most recent national elections was 75%, they're expecting a lot more people to vote this time, because it's such a close race. (there are 13 milion people with the right to vote)
In the Netherlands you are registered at birth and after you turn eighteen you will automatically get an invitation to vote for every election.
You also receive an example ballot with all the candidates and instructions, so you can study it at home. At the voting station there will be a huge poster with the ballot, so you have another chance to look at the names. We vote with a red pencil, filling the circle in front of the name of your candidate.

The only difference between the example ballot and the official ballot is that the latter is printed only on one side.

7893 stempas.jpg 8063 kandidatenlijst.jpg
My invitation to vote and the folded example ballot.

8058 kandidatenlijst.jpg
The example ballot on both sides; it's HUGE!

You bring your invitation and an ID to vote (the ID can be a passport or ID card, that was expired no more than five years ago, there are a couple of alternatives as well, but to my knowledge getting an ID is not a problem in the Netherlands)

These are the parties I can choose between:
verkiezingsbord Amsterdam.jpg
(I wasn't kidding about the Pirate party)

I don't think it's a secret I will vote for the Green Left (litteral translation of the party's name:), the only choice I still have left to make is which candidate I'll give my preference to. I would usually vote for the first woman on the list (there are three parties with a woman in the top spot, for most of the major parties the number 2 is a woman, except for the Christian Right (SGP) who don't allow women on their list, well they do now, since they had to go to court over that and lost, but they don't have any eligible women on their list anyway).

BUT! Choosing number 2 will not result in more women in parliament, because candidates will get a seat based on their place on the list and the amount of votes the party gets. So number two on the list will definitely get in. This year there was a campaign explaining that in order to get more women in parliament, we should vote for a woman who is near the cut-off point of seats for their party and might not get in, unless she'd get preference votes. So I'm gonna try and find out who that would be for my party, based on the dreaded polls...

Why do I vote for a woman? Simple math, the group of candidates has 34% women and 66% men; I want our parliament to be representative of our population, so to restore balance, my preference vote goes to a woman.

Polling stations are open from 07:30 until 21:00, I'll go and vote after work, on my way home. For my own sanity I will try not to spend the evening watching the news;) Mom's coming over for dinner and I hope we will distract each other with chatting and DVDs...

It will be a stressful evening though.

(FYI: our conservatives are really not that conservative; issues like women's rights, gay marriage and healthcare for all are not up for debate to the point of fearing for our life. But the rise of the right is a cause for worry, especially for non white people. Let's hope enough lefties turn up to vote and even out the hate with sympathy at least...)

Date: 2017-03-14 09:51 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Everybody's electoral systems seem complicated to me but I'm all for having more parties to choose from. I'm also for more women - especially ones who don't think they need to behave like men in order to get into power.

Date: 2017-03-19 02:30 pm (UTC)
ext_63196: (Voted)
From: [identity profile]
I think we have the most transparant electoral system in the world: the percentage of votes is the same as the percentage of seats in the House; there are no hidden calculations:)
Unfortunately we still have a lot of work to do to even out the balance between men and women in politics.

Date: 2017-03-15 04:04 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
This was most informative. Thank you for posting!

All of this makes me think that the viewpoints in your country are not nearly so far apart, as they are in the US. Here, so many people with such wildly different opinions make collaboration difficult!

Date: 2017-03-16 05:01 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I wanted to come back here and say that there was an article in my newspaper about your elections, and THANKS TO THIS POST, I actually understood the article! :DDD

Date: 2017-03-19 02:34 pm (UTC)
ext_63196: (Voted)
From: [identity profile]
This made me so proud to hear! I tried to write it down without checking sources first, just to see if I had understood our system myself *grins* Thanks for letting me know I succeeded in explaining it:)

Date: 2017-03-19 02:32 pm (UTC)
ext_63196: (Voted)
From: [identity profile]
You're welcome:) Oh, we do have extremes, but with so many options to choose from, those parties tend to stay small. Forming a decisive goverment with all the spread out politics is quite a challenge:)

Date: 2017-03-15 07:52 pm (UTC)
ext_388233: (Default)
From: [identity profile]
Personally I think it's the sheer size of the US that results in such varying political views. It makes me think that more power to the states is a good idea. Not a popular opinion. But imagine if all of Europe had to come together for one person, how many people may not be represented.

At this point if they split our country in two and said this side is liberal and this one conservative I'd be happy. And I'd move.

I'm absolutely flabbergasted by the amount of political parties you have. holy cow.

Date: 2017-03-19 02:42 pm (UTC)
ext_63196: (Voted)
From: [identity profile]
True, the bigger a country, the more difficult to keep things together, but that's why I'm so surprised by the limited two party system in the USA. It's weird to me that you have to choose between one or the other, because you can be in favor of less government spending and still suport a women's right to choose for instance, yet in America it often seems like one party is simply against something because the other party is in favor of it.
We may have gone a bit overboard with the amount of parties, but at least I can find one to represent me more precisely than just on one issue and the parties are forced to work together instead of against each other;)

I'll do a follow up post later with the results.

Date: 2017-03-15 09:05 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Exit polls look good! (At least re PVV, if not quite as good as the Greens might have hoped.) And it sounds like turnout was really high - just saw a tweet saying 100% at Wageningen uni!

I'm so glad you're not looking anti-EU (as one of our madder newspapers keeps suggesting) or as xenophobic as it might have been. I need my faith in Western Europe since the Anglophone democracies are so monumentally dire at the moment.

Date: 2017-03-19 02:51 pm (UTC)
ext_63196: (Voted)
From: [identity profile]
The turn out was amazing! 80,8% compared to 74,6% in 2012, it made me proud:) Biggest relief is that PVV did not end up the biggest party; now Wilders will just have to wait his turn (and most likely end up in the opposition, because nobody wants to collaborate in a government with the PVV).
His party was really the only one with hysterical anti-EU sentiments; the rest of our politicians are more pragmatic about the EU.

I'll do a proper follow up post about the results later. For now I'm really happy my Green Left party did so well. (They won more seats than they ever even had in the House!)

Date: 2017-03-25 08:54 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I stumbled onto this post by accident and ended up telling a friend friend who's moving to Rotterdam and wanted to know a bit more about (among many other things, heh) the Dutch electoral system to use this post as a starting point. She found it most informative, and we're now having interesting discussions about the formation. :) I 'always' vote PvdD but was also more than chuffed about the GL results!

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