Local (municipal) elections will take place in every city of the Netherlands next week, from the 14th to the 16th of April.
Open to every EU citizen over 18 registered in a Dutch city hall, these elections allow citizens to decide on the main political guidelines for their town. This is likely nothing new to you. However, many might not be very well informed on who’s running, who to vote for, or just even on what’s going on. Therefore, this week’s news will provide you with a more detailed overview of the elections, the issues at stake, and the parties involved. All so that you can be ready to put a name in the ballet box!
Why are municipal elections important in the Netherlands?
City councils have a very important role in the daily lives of local citizens, as they are the main body controlling and deciding on city matters. This includes ensuring the proper functioning of the city’s services and infrastructures, guaranteeing sufficient quality welfare facilities, as well as housing, and, on a broader scale, fostering local development. Participating in the municipal elections thus allows you to decide for yourself what is going to happen in your city and overall have a direct say in local affairs.
In The Hague, how are the elections going to occur?
The Hague is the Netherlands’ third largest city with over 550 000 residents; its local council consequently has 45 seats, distributed proportionally according to the votes given to each party. This year, 21 parties are running for municipal elections.
Below is a general description for the four main political parties running, as well as their propositions for The Hague:
Hart voor Den Haag:
Founded in 2013, Hart voor Den Haag is a liberal center-right wing party focused on the improvement of daily life on a local level. Its principal aim is to ensure everyone lives in a “safe and clean city”. It highly emphasizes the importance of security, with measures such as the increase of the municipal police staff, the protection of women, a crackdown on criminals, and the stem of migrant flows. The party also vows to pursue sustainable and eco-friendly policies to improve the well-being of The Hague’s citizens. Finally, it greatly values the economic development of the city, and is particularly committed to entrepreneurship and small businesses.
For more information: Home – Heart for The Hague (hartvoordenhaag.nl)
The People’s Party for Freedom and Democracy (VVD) is a center-right wing, liberal party, and the party of current Dutch prime minister Mark Rutte. Regarding sustainability and infrastructures, the VVD vows to increase sustainable and quality housing, improve The Hague’s outdoor spaces, and develop the local transport facilities to make them more accessible. As for welfare, the party wants to improve youth care and old age facilities, as well as bettering the lives of tertiary education students mainly through an increase in housing. Looking at security, the VVD also promises to increase the number of law enforcement officers and emphasizes the importance of integration of migrant residents. Finally, the party grants great importance to the question of economy, proposing an increase in entrepreneurship assistance and the further development of tourism.
For more information: Positions – VVD The Hague (vvddenhaag.nl)
Democrats 66 is a center-wing party that focuses on social equality and opportunities accessible for all, with an emphasis on sustainability. Thus, the party has the ambition to make The Hague a carbon-neutral city by 2030. An important focus on education is made in their programme as they pledge to achieve inclusive, accessible education facilities from the early age to university. D66 also intends to increase the number of housing accommodations in the city, principally directed at students and with a regard to sustainability. Looking at the issue of transport, D66 is in favor of the development of transportation to improve its rapidity and efficiency and by developing safe roads. On security, D66 adopts a preventive approach by proposing the development of information and awareness initiatives regarding harassment, ethnic profiling or drug traffic. Finally, D66’s ideas for the local economy are to boost innovation through a panel of financial and social incentives, as well as to improve the accessibility of the job market in order to make it inclusive.
For more information: D66 The Hague — Release everyone, but no one falls
GroenLinks is a green political party, describing itself as “green”, “social” and “tolerant”. In The Hague, their main concern is welfare. Indeed, GroenLinks promises to provide financial aid to every Hague citizen in need to provide them decent opportunities. The party also pledges to fight housing injustices and regulate the housing market in order to offer affordable and attractive housing for everyone. GroenLinks highlights in their programme the goal to make The Hague inclusive, tolerant and welcoming for everyone. Finally, the party is aiming for a 2030 carbon-neutral The Hague as well, and suggests developing green transport and green transition in order to achieve this goal.
For more information: Positions | GroenLinks The Hague
How can I vote this Wednesday?
If you are an EU citizen over 18 and residing in The Hague, you are eligible to vote. To take part in the elections, you must have requested your voting pass by Friday the 11th of March. This pass, along with your ID card, will allow you to vote in one of The Hague’s 276 polling stations, between March 14th and 16th.
For more information on where to find your polling station and it’s opening times, check: https://www.stembureausindenhaag.nl/ .
So now that you know everything about the upcoming elections, mark your calendar!
For those who still cannot make up their mind, BASIS and ASTUS are hosting a The Hague Municipal Elections: Info Session. This will take place March 12th, 13-15, in room 2.02 in Wijnhaven. All running The Hague political parties are invited to speak with you.
Tell us what you think on Instagram @basis.baismag
Images from Unsplash
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