The parliamentary election in the Netherlands on March 15 is approaching rapidly. And with an incredibly fragmented field, it looks as though attempts to form a coalition government after the vote will prove a challenging task, to say the least. Despite all the hype, it’s far from certain that the populist radical right Freedom Party (PVV) of Geert Wilders will top the polls – and even more questionable whether it will end up in government. The PVV and the Liberal Party (VVD) of Prime Minister Mark Rutte have led the opinion polls for months. Behind them follow no fewer than five parties which, according to the latest figures, are predicted to win around 10% of the vote each. Given the extreme proportionality of the Dutch electoral system, such a result would generate a highly fragmented parliament. If the final results resemble the opinion polls, a minimum of four parties would need to agree to cooperate to form a majority coalition.Full Article: Fragmented field keeps voters guessing as Dutch election approaches.
Articles about voting issues in the Kingdom of the Netherlands.
The animals are on the march. When traditional politics fractures, new parties come to the fore. And in the Netherlands, the Party for the Animals is in the running before the March 15 national election. While Geert Wilders’s Freedom Party and Prime Minister Mark Rutte’s Liberals fight it out for first place, the need for coalition partners means the Animal party could play a role in creating a working majority needed to form a government. The rise in nationalist sentiment, which has bolstered groups such as the U.K. Independence Party and Marine Le Pen’s National Front in France, threatens to disrupt the conventional order in the Netherlands, one of the core founding members of the European Union. A new governing coalition that successfully excludes the anti-Islam, anti-immigration Freedom Party — as the mainstream groups have promised — could require as many as six separate alliance members to reach a 76-seat majority in the Dutch lower house of Parliament. That’s where Marianne Thieme comes in.Full Article: In the Netherlands, a Party for Animals Is Winning Voters - Bloomberg.
The Dutch anti-Islam politician Geert Wilders and his populist Freedom party have suspended all public campaigning for next month’s parliamentary elections following an alleged security leak. Wilders, current frontrunner for the Netherlands’ general elections, to be held on 15 March, said on Twitter: “Very alarming news. The PVV is suspending its public activities until all facts in connection with the corruption investigation are known.” Dutch media reported this week that a member of the far-right politician’s police security team had been arrested on suspicion of leaking details of his whereabouts to a Dutch-Moroccan criminal gang. The Algemeen Dagblad newspaper reported on Thursday that the officer and his brother, both previously members of the Utrecht police force, had also been investigated in the past in connection with suspected leaks of confidential information.Full Article: Geert Wilders suspends election campaign over alleged security leak | World news | The Guardian.
Netherlands: The far right party is leading election polls in the Netherlands: Will Geert Wilders be prime minister? | Los Angeles Times
One late-winter evening three years ago, Lt. Col. Mostafa Hilali switched off the light at his office in the Dutch defense department, drove home to his townhouse near the banks of the North Sea, and flipped on the TV. On the news was footage of a political rally where the leader of Holland’s far-right Freedom Party, Geert Wilders, stepped up to the microphone and asked his supporters: “Do you want more or fewer Moroccans in this country?” The mostly white, Christian crowd chanted with fervor: “Fewer, fewer, fewer!” “Well I’ll arrange for that then,” Wilders retorted with a smirk. The crowd cheered. Hilali’s heart sank. “That’s when it hit home for me,” Hilali, a Dutchman of Moroccan descent who immigrated to the Netherlands with his parents when he was a toddler, said at his home in The Hague. “I mean, a politician, somebody in our House of Representatives, is actually on television saying out loud there need to be less people of your kind. It’s pretty brutal to say, and pretty brutal to hear.” Hilali and his native Dutch wife were among more than 5,000 plaintiffs who brought a class-action lawsuit against Wilders for discrimination, for his comments at that March 2014 rally. Last December, they won. A Dutch court found Wilders guilty of inciting discrimination and insulting an ethnic group, but issued no punishment.Full Article: The far right party is leading election polls in the Netherlands: Will Geert Wilders be prime minister? - LA Times.
Dutch municipalities will be allowed to use computers to count the votes cast in the 15 March elections, but only if those are not connected to the Internet, the Dutch government said on Wednesday. Officials were also banned from using USB-sticks or other devices to bring the results from municipalities to the headquarters of the 20 electoral districts, The measures are part of Plasterk’s attempt to rule out hacking, especially from Russia, and follows a report by Dutch broadcaster RTL at the end of January. RTL said the software that was used to register the votes was vulnerable to hacking because it did not contain any security requirements for computers it was used on. Plasterk then decided that the registering of votes should be done by hand. Registering votes was the only part of the electoral process that was theoretically open to hacking.Full Article: Dutch will count votes on offline PCs to prevent hacking.
Netherlands: Fake News, Fake Ukrainians: How a Group of Russians Tilted a Dutch Vote | The New York Times
Harry van Bommel, a left-wing member of the Dutch Parliament, had persuasive allies in convincing voters that they should reject a trade pact with Ukraine — his special “Ukrainian team,” a gleefully contrarian group of émigrés whose sympathies lay with Russia. They attended public meetings, appeared on television and used social media to denounce Ukraine’s pro-Western government as a bloodthirsty kleptocracy, unworthy of Dutch support. As Mr. Van Bommel recalled, it “was very handy to show that not all Ukrainians were in favor.” Handy but also misleading: The most active members of the Ukrainian team were actually from Russia, or from Russian-speaking regions of Ukraine, and parroted the Kremlin line. The Dutch referendum, held last April, became a battering ram aimed at the European Union. With turnout low, Dutch voters rejected the trade agreement between the European Union and Ukraine, delighting Moscow, emboldening pro-Russia populists around Europe and leaving political elites aghast.Full Article: Fake News, Fake Ukrainians: How a Group of Russians Tilted a Dutch Vote - The New York Times.
Netherlands: Far-right outcast Geert Wilders vows to ‘de-Islamise’ the Netherlands after taking lead in Dutch polls | The Independent
The controversial right-wing Dutch politician Geert Wilders says he intends to govern in the Netherlands after the elections, and expects the electorate to rise up if other political parties deny him that option. In a rare 40-minute interview with broadcaster WNL, the far-right leader also compared mosques to Nazi temples and the Quran to Hitler’s autobiography Mein Kampf. Mr Wilders does not often sit down for in-depth interviews with Dutch media. The founder of the one-man Party for Freedom, or PVV, prefers to control the narrative through Twitter. The “Dutch Trump” knows that the media will pick up news from his timeline.Full Article: Far-right outcast Geert Wilders vows to 'de-Islamise' the Netherlands after taking lead in Dutch polls | The Independent.
A website used by millions of Dutch voters to test their political preferences was quietly keeping a tally of how many were matched with each party, a security researcher who penetrated the site said on Tuesday. The discovery by researcher Loran Kloeze raised potential privacy concerns and sparked a debate over whether the site was biased. The leaked results showed the Labour Party, a junior party in the governing coalition, received the second most matches even though it is running sixth in opinion polls. Kloeze said he had also found a rogue data field on the site in which someone had posted an insult, suggesting he was not the only person to have discovered a flaw in its security. The leak comes at a time of heightened concern over cyber security after U.S. intelligence agencies concluded that Russia used cyberattacks last year to try to sway the outcome of the Nov. 8 election in favor of Donald Trump.Full Article: Leak raises security concerns over Dutch voter help website | Reuters.
Dutch authorities will count by hand all the votes cast in next month’s general elections, ditching “vulnerable” computer software to thwart any cyber hacking bid, a senior minister has said. “I cannot rule out that state actors may try to benefit from influencing political decisions and public opinion in the Netherlands,” interior minister Ronald Plasterk said in a letter to parliament on Wednesday. On 15 March, the Netherlands kicks off a year of crucial elections in Europe which will be closely watched amid the rise of far-right and populist parties on the continent. Dutch officials are already on alert for signs of possible cyber hacking following allegations by US intelligence agencies that Russia may have meddled in November’s US presidential polls to help secure Donald Trump’s victory.Full Article: Dutch will count all election ballots by hand to thwart hacking | World news | The Guardian.
All ballots in the Netherlands’ election next month will be counted by hand in order to preserve confidence in the electoral system after reports suggested its automated counting systems may be vulnerable to hacking, the government said. Intelligence agencies have warned that three crucial European elections this year, in the Netherlands, France and Germany, could be vulnerable to manipulation by outside actors, including Russia. “Reports in recent days about vulnerabilities in our systems raise the question of whether the results could be manipulated,” Interior Minister Ronald Plasterk said in a statement on Wednesday. “No shadow of doubt can be permitted.” He told broadcaster RTL that possible external actors included Russia. “Now there are indications that Russians could be interested, for the following elections we must fall back on good old pen and paper,” he said.Full Article: Dutch will hand count ballots due to hacking fears | Reuters.
Dutch security researcher Sijmen Ruwhof has examined the software used at Dutch polling stations to send election results, and now claims “the average iPad is more secure than the Dutch voting system.” Local television station RTL asked the researcher to examine the security of Dutch voting systems after they heard they used weak SHA1 cryptography in certain parts of the system. Dutch elections have used paper-based voting since 2009, when the government banned electronic voting on security grounds. However, once the vote is cast, election officials will use electronic systems to send manually counted votes from each district. As the vote is counted data is transferred and shared on USB sticks, with the final tally going to the central Electoral Council in a digital file. This means that at multiple points during the result calculation, the data is shared electronically using systems that may not be so secure. The voting software can even be installed on personal devices, Windows XP, and non-current versions of web browsers, the researcher said. You can take a look at the accumulation of security weaknesses identified by the researcher here.Full Article: iPads ‘more secure than voting systems’ -- claim | Computerworld.
The software used at Dutch polling stations to send election results, is outdated and very vulnerable to hackers and there are not enough rules around where and where the software can be installed, according to security expert Sijmen Ruwhof, who investigated the software on behalf of RTL Nieuws. According to Ruwhof, “the average iPad is more secure than the Dutch voting system”. Dutch voters fill in their election ballot with a pencil. The vote count is also done by hand, but the results are forwarded to a central point with the program Ondersteunende Software Verkiezingen (OSV). The Electoral Council installes that program with a CD-ROM. According to Ruwhof, the biggest problem with this is that the program can be installed on any computer, including on old computers that are not properly protected. For example, if the program is installed on a old computer using Windows XP, for which Windows stopped security updates in 2014, and that computer is connected to the internet – the Dutch voting system is open to malicious software that can be used to change the results.Full Article: Average iPad better secured than Dutch voting system: cyber security expert | NL Times.
Peter Plasman showed up at the Netherlands’ national electoral commission’s offices Monday to register one of the more unusual parties bidding to take part in the upcoming Dutch election — a party for people who don’t vote. Plasman was hardly an exception when it came to flouting convention. A record 81 parties have expressed interest in taking part in the March 15 parliamentary election. Monday was the day they all had to hand in their paperwork. Among the eclectic roster of potential players, there also is the Colorful Cow Party, which casts itself in part as an antidote to the fierce anti-Islam rhetoric of the Party for Freedom. Its website includes a recipe for a traditional Dutch mashed potato dish, prepared with Turkish sausages and Moroccan spices. The party wound up not filing paperwork Monday because it could not find enough funds, its founder, Daan van Reenen, said in an email.Full Article: Dutch elections, anyone? 81 parties make it a quandary | World News | US News.
Netherlands: Dutch referendum voters overwhelmingly reject closer EU links to Ukraine | The Guardian
Dutch voters have overwhelmingly rejected a Ukraine-European Union treaty on closer political and economic ties, in a rebuke to their government and to the EU establishment.The broad political, trade and defence treaty – which had already been signed by the Dutch prime minister Mark Rutte’s government and approved by all other EU nations, and Ukraine – provisionally took effect in January. But on Wednesday 64% of Dutch referendum voters rejected it; the turnout was just 32% – barely enough for the result to be valid. Voters said they were opposing not only the treaty but wider European policymaking on matters ranging from the migrant crisis to economics.Full Article: Dutch referendum voters overwhelmingly reject closer EU links to Ukraine | World news | The Guardian.
Weeks before the U.K. decides whether to leave the European Union, the Netherlands will hold a referendum that could deliver a blow to the bloc. On Wednesday, the Netherlands will vote to support or reject the EU’s association agreement with Ukraine, a pact that deepens economic and political ties with the former Soviet republic and is already ratified by the EU’s 27 other member states. Although the referendum is nonbinding, EU officials fear that a rejection by Dutch voters could send ripples through the continent and represent a victory for Russia, which has long tried to scuttle the agreement.Full Article: Dutch Vote on EU-Ukraine Deal Could Send Ripples Through Europe - WSJ.
The dividing lines of the referendum are clearly drawn. Supporters say a yes vote will deliver security and trade; opponents see a chance to wrest back control from the so-called undemocratic forces of Brussels. Accusations of lies and spin are batted around on both sides. Many voters are confused or indifferent. This is not Britain, but the Netherlands. On Wednesday the Dutch will take part in the other referendum that is sending shivers through the EU establishment, a vote that has exposed bitter rifts in attitudes towards Brussels – and Moscow. It is the country’s first referendum since 2005, when voters rejected the EU constitution. This time, unlike their British counterparts, the Dutch will not be voting on whether to leave or remain in the EU, but on the more obscure issue of an association agreement with Ukraine that aims to deepen trade and cooperation.Full Article: Dutch gear up for the other EU vote giving Brussels a headache | World news | The Guardian.
Dutch voters are going to the polls on Wednesday — but the topic is Ukraine, not their own country. When Ukrainians rose up against their government in February 2014, the trigger for their anger was then-President Viktor Yanukovych’s refusal to sign an agreement fostering closer links between his country and the 28-nation European Union. After Yanukovych was toppled, his replacement, Petro Poroshenko, signed the Association Agreement with the EU, a broad free trade deal that — supporters say — also seeks to tackle corruption and improve human rights in the troubled former Soviet republic.Full Article: Netherlands to hold referendum on EU-Ukraine deal | Business | helenair.com.
When the Netherlands introduced a new referendum law in July 2015, few expected it could one day play into the hands of the Kremlin. Or that it would be used to force a national vote on the more than 320-page-long European association agreement with Ukraine. Yet less than a year later, on April 6, the Dutch will have to answer with a Yes or No the question of whether they favor the bloc’s association deal with Kiev. Recent opinion polls suggest it will be a neck-and-neck race between the two sides. Although the vote is advisory and has no direct influence on EU policy, it has caused a scare in The Hague and Brussels. European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker has warned that a Dutch No vote will “open the door to a big continental crisis” with only one winner. “Russia would pluck the fruits of an easy victory,” he told the Dutch NRC newspaper. The dull language of the long text of the association agreement belies its explosive potential. For years, it has been the source of a tug-of-war with Moscow as Kiev tried to move out of its former Soviet ruler’s orbit into the arms of the EU.Full Article: Russian Bear Looms Over Dutch Voting Booth | News | The Moscow Times.
What’s in a name? Last Monday, a provincial department of the Dutch Socialist Party (SP) announced that Crimea would vote No in next week’s Dutch referendum on an EU Association Agreement with Ukraine.
Of course, the party was not referring to actual Crimea. Rather, it had polled inhabitants of De Krim, an eastern Dutch village that shares its name with the Ukrainian peninsula that was annexed by Russia two years ago.
The SP said it had interviewed 168 people – around 10 percent of the village’s electorate. Of those who had already made up their mind, 76 percent would vote No. However, a week before the Dutch electorate could voice its opinion in its first-ever citizens-enforced referendum, a government-commissioned national poll suggested that only half of voters had made up their mind, and they were split equally between Yes and No. But while the Yes side is relatively uniform in its motivations and arguments (the EU-Ukraine is said to be good for trade for both sides and good for human rights), the No side consists of a more motley crew. Who are they?
The Dutch are known for their candor. This openness even extends to the ostensibly secret act of voting in national elections. Tweeting selfies while voting became something of a phenomenon during municipal elections in March. When subsequently asked to clarify the law on taking photos in the voting booth, Dutch courts gave it their blessing (link in Dutch), as long as the photo is of your own ballot and not somebody else’s. Today, Dutch voters went to the polls for the European Parliament, and a flood of selfies burst forth. (For many more “stemfies”—a mashup of selfie and the Dutch stemmen (to vote)—follow the #stemfie hashtag.) The UK is also voting in European elections today, but you won’t see many tweets of Brits beaming with their ballots. The country’s election authority warned that voting-booth selfies could endanger the secrecy of the vote, and staff have put up warnings against taking photos inside polling stations. The penalty for revealing someone else’s ballot is a £5,000 ($8,430) fine or six months in prison.Full Article: The Dutch are perfecting the controversial art of the voting-booth selfie - Quartz.