Dutch general election breaks three records

The result of the recent general election in the Netherlands was quite remarkable in a number of ways. Three records were broken. Never before have so many votes been cast, did a newcomer receive so many votes and did an existing party gain so many more votes than in the previous election.

More votes than ever before

Nearly 9.5 million people voted in the recent general election, 875 thousand more than in 1998. The increase was partly caused by a slight increase in the number of people eligible to vote (by two percent to just over twelve million), but mainly by the high turnout (79.1 percent, compared with 73.3 percent in 1998); indeed this is the highest turnout since the eighties.

Turnout general elections

Largest newcomer

The List Pim Fortuyn (LPF) received just over 1.6 million votes, giving it 26 seats. This makes the LPF the largest newcomer ever. Prior to the last general election the largest newcomer was DS'70 with eight seats in 1971, before that D66 with seven seats in 1967.

Largest gain for existing party

The Christian Democrats (CDA) received 2.7 million votes, just over one million more than in 1998. This is the largest gain ever by a party already represented in the Second Chamber. They broke the record held by the social democrats (PvdA) who received 900 thousand votes more in 1977 than in 1972. The CDA is now the largest party in the Second Chamber with 43 seats.

Seats in the Second Chamber

A million fewer votes for PvdA

Just over 1.4 million people voted for the PvdA, one million fewer than in 1998. This is just under the record loss in votes, which CDA incurred in 1994: 1.1 million votes fewer than in 1989. The PvdA now has only just more than half the number of seats it held before the election, having to give up 23 out of 45. It now has by far the lowest number it has ever had. Even when the Second Chamber had only one hundred seats before the present 150, the PvdA and its predecessors always had more.

Dirk Koper