Dutch parliamentary election, March 2021

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Publication Date 2021
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Information Guide concerning the legislation election held in the Netherlands on 15-17 March 2021.

Further information:

The 150 members of the House of Representatives are elected by open list proportional representation. The number of seats per list is determined using the D'Hondt method, effectively resulting in an electoral threshold of 0.67% of votes to secure a seat. Voters have the option to cast a preferential vote. This election was originally scheduled for 17 March. Due to the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic, the government decided to open some polling stations two days in advance to ensure safe voting to some groups of the population. Citizens aged 70 years or older were given the chance to vote by post. A record number of parties registered with the Electoral Council in order to compete in the election, although most did not achieve full ballot access.

The electoral campaign took place amidst the sanitary crisis and during a national lockdown. The restrictions led to protests across the country. The government led by Mark Rutte - third cabinet of the centre-right VVD leader - resigned on 15 January 2021 following a parliamentary inquiry into a national childcare benefits scandal. Commentators noted that the resignation was mostly symbolic given the already scheduled election.

The election resulted in yet another victory for Mr Rutte's VVD (21,9%). The outcome confirmed a very fragmented political landscape with 17 political parties eventually gaining representation in the House of Representatives. The biggest gains went for the centrist D-66, which came second in the election (15%). The far-right PVV was third (10,8%). Analysts expected a long process of negotiations and government formation, but also highlighted Mr Rutte's experience in forming majorities for what could be his fourth cabinet.

Related Links
Commentary and Analysis
Wikipedia: 2021 Dutch general election https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2021_Dutch_general_election
IFES Election Guide: Kingdom of the Netherlands - Election for Tweede Kamer (Dutch Second Chamber) https://www.electionguide.org/elections/id/3629/
Politico: Poll of Polls: Netherlands https://www.politico.eu/europe-poll-of-polls/netherlands/
openDemocracy: 50.50, 01/01/2021: Meet the Black feminist politician shaking up Dutch politics https://www.opendemocracy.net/en/5050/meet-first-black-woman-found-political-party-europe/
ECPR: The Loop, 22/01/2021: The Dutch government has been rocked by scandal. Why does its leader remain untainted? https://theloop.ecpr.eu/the-dutch-government-has-been-rocked-by-scandal-why-does-its-leader-remain-untainted/
ING Think: ING Research, February 2021: 2021 General Elections in the Netherlands https://think.ing.com/uploads/reports/ING_2021-General-elections-in-the-Netherlands.pdf
LSE: EUROPP Blog, 09/02/2021: What the manifestos tell us about the 2021 Dutch general election https://blogs.lse.ac.uk/europpblog/2021/02/09/what-the-manifestos-tell-us-about-the-2021-dutch-general-election/
Robert Schuman Foundation: European Election Monitor: Analysis, 23/02/2021: In office for more than ten years, the People's Party for Freedom and Democracy (VVD) of incumbent Prime Minister Mark Rutte, is running favourite in the general elections in the Netherlands https://www.robert-schuman.eu/en/eem/1904-in-office-for-more-than-ten-years-the-people-s-party-for-freedom-and-democracy-vvd-of-incumbent-prime-minister-mark-rutte-is-running-favourite-in-the-general-elections-in-the-netherlands
Maastricht University: News, 10/03/2021: 2021 Dutch Elections: Between COVID and charisma https://www.maastrichtuniversity.nl/news/between-covid-and-charisma
Leiden University: News, 11/03/2021: Leiden research into Dutch parliamentary elections – a reading list https://www.library.universiteitleiden.nl/news/2021/03/leiden-research-into-dutch-parliamentary-elections---a-reading-list
Deutsche Welle, 14/03/2021: Dutch elections: How COVID-19 salvaged Mark Rutte's bid amid scandal https://p.dw.com/p/3qNcr
The Guardian, 15/03/2021: Netherlands election: Mark Rutte set to win big – but what next? https://www.theguardian.com/world/2021/mar/15/netherlands-election-mark-rutte-set-to-win-big-but-what-next
Europe Elects, 15/03/2021: Netherlands: Rutte Sovereign in a Landscape Fragmented Like Never Before https://europeelects.eu/2021/03/15/netherlands-rutte-sovereign-in-a-landscape-fragmented-like-never-before/
Euro|topics, March 2021: Dutch general election: a fourth term for Rutte? https://www.eurotopics.net/en/257957/
Euronews, 17/03/2021: Dutch election: Is online sexism holding women back from becoming MPs? https://www.euronews.com/2021/03/17/dutch-election-is-online-sexism-holding-women-back-from-becoming-mps
EurActiv, 17/03/2021: Five things to know about virus-dominated Dutch vote https://www.euractiv.com/section/elections/news/five-things-to-know-about-virus-dominated-dutch-vote/
Politico, 18/03/2021: 4 Dutch election takeaways https://www.politico.eu/article/4-dutch-general-election-takeaways-mark-rutte/
New Statesman, 18/03/2021: The European ripples of the Dutch election https://www.newstatesman.com/world/europe/2021/03/european-ripples-dutch-election
University of Nottingham: Party Systems & Governments Observatory: Blog, 19/03/2021: Four more years? The 2021 parliamentary elections in The Netherlands https://whogoverns.eu/four-more-years/
Yale University: Macmillan Center: News, 19/03/2021: Pro-EU liberals and Rutte’s VVD do well, but so do right-wing populists, in Dutch election https://macmillan.yale.edu/news/pro-eu-liberals-and-ruttes-vvd-do-well-so-do-right-wing-populists-dutch-election
IPS Journal, 19/03/2021: Dutch elections: the triumph of two liberalisms https://www.ips-journal.eu/topics/future-of-social-democracy/dutch-elections-the-triumph-of-two-liberalisms-5058/
The Conversation, 19/03/2021: Dutch elections: Mark Rutte wins another term but fragmented results mask continuing popularity of the far right https://theconversation.com/dutch-elections-mark-rutte-wins-another-term-but-fragmented-results-mask-continuing-popularity-of-the-far-right-156993
Euro|topics, March 2021: The Netherlands: a fresh impetus despite the government's victory? https://www.eurotopics.net/en/258117/
Jacobin Magazine, 20/03/2021: The Dutch Left’s Collapse Shows How It Failed to Politicize the Pandemic https://jacobinmag.com/2021/03/dutch-elections-vvd-d66-sp-pvda-bij1-rutte
The Economist, 20/03/2021: A Dutch election boosts both pro-EU liberals and the far right https://www.economist.com/europe/2021/03/20/a-dutch-election-boosts-both-pro-eu-liberals-and-the-far-right
VoxEurop: Analysis, 21/03/2021: Will “Teflon Mark” Rutte’s “good populism” bring the Dutch back to Europe? https://voxeurop.eu/en/will-teflon-marks-good-populism-bring-the-dutch-back-to-europe/
University of Oslo: C-REX Centre: Right Now! Blog, 22/03/2021: The Dutch election – Far right side characters in the ‘Mark Rutte show’ https://www.sv.uio.no/c-rex/english/news-and-events/right-now/2021/the-dutch-election.html
Robert Schuman Foundation: European Elections Monitor: Results, 22/03/2021: Christian democrat victory and collapse of the populists in the Netherlands https://www.robert-schuman.eu/en/eem/0118-christian-democrat-victory-and-collapse-of-the-populists-in-the-netherlands
IIEA: EU Affairs Blog, 24/03/2021: What are the implications of the Dutch parliamentary election results for Ireland and the EU? https://www.iiea.com/eu-affairs/implications-of-the-dutch-parliamentary-election/
ECPR: The Loop Blog, 26/03/2021: After the 2021 Dutch general election, can Volt become a genuine pan-European force? https://theloop.ecpr.eu/following-the-dutch-general-election-of-2021-can-volt-become-a-genuine-transnational-and-pan-european-force/
UK House of Commons Library: Research Briefings No 9179, 30/03/2021: Netherlands: 2021 general election https://commonslibrary.parliament.uk/research-briefings/cbp-9179/
ECPR: The Loop Blog, 30/03/2021: The Liberal Party once again emerges as the largest party in the Dutch pandemic election https://theloop.ecpr.eu/the-liberal-party-once-again-emerges-as-the-largest-party-in-the-dutch-pandemic-election/
Intereconomics: Vol 56, No 2 (March/April 2021): The EU Elephant: Europe in the 2021 Dutch General Elections https://www.intereconomics.eu/contents/year/2021/number/2/article/the-eu-elephant-europe-in-the-2021-dutch-general-elections.html
UKiCE: Commentary, 01/04/2021: The Dutch elections: What they mean for European politics https://ukandeu.ac.uk/the-dutch-elections-what-they-mean-for-european-politics/
Europe Elects, 15/04/2021: Netherlands: From Election to Chaos in Two Weeks https://europeelects.eu/2021/04/15/netherlands-from-election-to-chaos-in-two-weeks/

Politico: Live Blog: Rutte wins Dutch election: As it happened https://www.politico.eu/article/dutch-netherlands-general-election-mark-rutte-geert-wilders/
NL Times, 29/01/2021: Cabinet collapse had little effect on polls; VVD still on top https://nltimes.nl/2021/01/29/cabinet-collapse-little-effect-polls-vvd-still-top
EurActiv, 09/03/2021: Bike-riding Dutch PM pedals towards new term https://www.euractiv.com/section/elections/news/bike-riding-dutch-pm-pedals-towards-new-term/
Reuters, 12/03/2021: PM Rutte's conservatives seen winning Dutch election amid pandemic https://www.reuters.com/article/idUSKBN2B40TZ
Dutchnews.nl, 13/03/2021: The 2021 general election: what you need to know https://www.dutchnews.nl/news/2021/03/the-2021-general-election-what-you-need-to-know/
Associated Press, 15/03/2021: Voting underway in coronavirus-affected Dutch election https://apnews.com/article/dcd45dd219ab2132bf876f3c402862e5
RFI News, 16/03/2021: Dutch PM's poll lead shrinks as parliamentary election enters second day https://www.rfi.fr/en/europe/20210316-dutch-pm-s-poll-lead-shrinks-as-parliamentary-election-enters-second-day
Deutsche Welle, 16/03/2021: Netherlands election: Dutch voters defy coronavirus fears https://p.dw.com/p/3qfaa
The Guardian, 17/03/2021: Netherlands election: Mark Rutte claims fourth term with 'overwhelming' victory https://www.theguardian.com/world/2021/mar/17/netherlands-election-mark-rutte-on-course-to-win-fourth-term
Euronews, 17/03/2021: Mark Rutte's party wins most seats in Dutch general election, preliminary results suggest https://www.euronews.com/2021/03/17/mark-rutte-s-party-wins-most-seats-in-dutch-general-election-exit-poll-suggests
Reuters, 17/03/2021: Pro-Europe Dutch politician Kaag books gains in election https://www.reuters.com/article/idUSKBN2B92YE
Politico, 17/03/2021: On the fringe: The smaller parties hoping for Dutch election success https://www.politico.eu/article/the-most-relevant-fringe-parties-in-dutch-elections/
BBC News, 18/03/2021: Dutch election: PM Mark Rutte claims victory and fourth term https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-56436297
France24, 18/03/2021: Dutch PM Rutte claims 'overwhelming' election win as far right loses ground https://www.france24.com/en/europe/20210318-dutch-pm-rutte-leads-general-election-polls-as-far-right-loses-ground
NL Times, 18/03/2021: Party leaders react to Dutch election results; Left wing let down https://nltimes.nl/2021/03/18/party-leaders-react-dutch-election-results-left-wing-let
Associated Press, 22/03/2021: After election, talks underway to form new Dutch coalition https://apnews.com/article/e81fa73fd36da30b4ae85ed9f3b01173

Official Website of the Dutch Electoral Council https://english.kiesraad.nl/
Dutch House of Representatives: Elections https://www.houseofrepresentatives.nl/elections
OSCE: ODIHR: Netherlands: Parliamentary Elections, 17 March 2021 https://www.osce.org/odihr/elections/netherlands/478507

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