Elections in the Netherlands are just hours away and alongside some of the larger parties, there are also several smaller parties that are expected to win some seats in parliament. Here’s a brief look at them…
Christian Union is a Christian democratic party with socially conservative views on same-sex marriage, abortion and euthanasia. The party is also eurosceptic, but does not support leaving the EU. Christian Union wants reform of the tax system to make work more rewarding, create a fund of €1 million for the protection of religious freedom and reduce the week limit on abortion. The party won five seats in 2012, and is expected to possibly gain one or two seats.
REFORMED POLITICAL PARTY
The Reformed Political Party is an orthodox Protestant political party and is the oldest political party in the Netherlands, having been formed in 1918. The party supports the death penalty and opposes feminism on Biblical grounds and had restricted membership to men until 2006. In its manifesto, the party wants to reduce the 24-week limit on abortion, supports a ban on the burqa in health care, education and public transport, demands greater reform of the European Union and believes all tolerance of soft drugs should be abolished immediately. The party won three seats in 2012, and polls suggest that it will maintain this number.
PARTY FOR THE ANIMALS
The Party for the Animals is a party dominated by animal rights and animal welfare, although it claims not to be a single-issue party. The party wants to abolish factory farming, abolish coal plants and nuclear energy and reduce taxes on labour. They received two seats in 2012, and look set to double this tomorrow. Polls suggest that the party could win up to six seats.
50PLUS focuses primarily on pensioners’ interests and populism. The party wants to reduce the retirement age back to 65, create a new health care system by 2020 and is against age discrimination in all laws and regulations. Some seat projections suggest that they may win as many as ten seats, but most recent polls show the party winning six.
VoorNederland (For the Netherlands) split from the far-right Party for Freedom in 2014 and is a classical liberal Eurosceptic party. The party wants to reduce taxes with a flat tax of 25% and 15% VAT, implement a strict immigration policy, similar to that of Australia, to meet the 2% defence target set by NATO. The polls over the last three months had suggested that the party would win one seat in the House of Representatives, but seat projections in the past few days have shown that they could well fall short.
DENK (Dutch for think, Turkish for equality) is a social democratic party formed in 2015 by two former members of the Labour Party of Turkish descent. The party aims to achieve a tolerant and caring society and supports multiculturalism, but has caused some controversy after calling for an independent investigation into the Armenian Genocide, claiming there is ‘no consensus’ for it. Based on polling, the party is anticipated to win at least one seat in the elections tomorrow.
FORUM VOOR DEMOCRATIE
Forum voor Democratie (Forum for Democracy) is a right-wing populist party formed in 2015 as a think tank to campaign in the following year’s referendum on an Association Agreement between the European Union and Ukraine. The party supports direct democracy for the Netherlands, wants to see the country hold a referendum on EU membership and believes Dutch culture needs to be protected from outside influences. Polls suggest the party will achieve 1% of votes in tomorrow’s election, meaning it may win one seat in parliament.
PIRATE PARTY OF THE NETHERLANDS
Formed in 2010, the Pirate Party supports direct democracy, open government and freedom of information. In their manifesto, the party has said it would legalise all drugs as the war on drugs has failed, call for greater transparency by the European Union and invest more in public transport. Having only won 0.3% of the vote in the last election, it is unlikely that 2017 will be the year that the Pirates enter the House of Representatives for the first time.