The wait is over, the provincial election results for Drenthe, Groningen and Friesland are in, and the upstart BoerBurgerBeweging (Farmer-Citizen Movement) is set to score the biggest victory in its short history.
The pro-farmer party, which is known by its Dutch acronym BBB, dealt a crushing blow to its rivals in the municipalities of Oldambt, Westerwolde and Stadskanaal. In Westerwolde, the BBB received almost forty percent of the votes. In total, the farmers protest party is projected to win 12 seats in provincial councils out of 43.
Two left-wing parties, Labor (PvdA) and GroenLinks, are on course to win 5 seats each. GroenLinks remains the largest party in Groningen, although fewer voters supported it this time around than during the last election four years ago.
The BBB has come out on top in Drenthe and Friesland, too, winning 17 and 14 provincial seats. In Drenthe, the party even took over 30% of the vote, becoming by far the most significant political force in the local government.
Winners and losers
Another newcomer, the pro-Europe Volt, made inroads in the municipality of Groningen, too. The EU federalist party will now control one seat in the provincial council.
Volt did equally good in Drenthe, where it will now have two seats.
The animal rights party Partij voor de Dieren (PvdD) also gained votes in all the three provinces and could end up with one extra seat in each provincial council.
Right-wing nationalist Forum voor Democratie is set to become the biggest loser in these elections. Four years ago, it scored a surprising victory getting five seats in Groningen and six in Friesland. After Wednesday’s election, the party will keep only 1 seat in each of these regions. In Drenthe, FVD received only 3% of the votes, down from 13.5 percent in 2019.
The number of seats held by the regional party Groninger Belang and the far-right PVV remains unchanged – three and two, respectively. The center-right 50PLUS is the only party that will not be returning to the provincial council.
The provincial elections will appoint members of the Dutch Senate from across the country. These representatives and regional governments are responsible for translating goals like the plan to reduce farming emissions into real plans.
The cabinet’s policy to reduce the number of livestock in the country and close some farms has caused the BBB to soar in popularity – especially in northern rural areas.
If the self-declared agrarian interest movement wins enough seats in the senate, it could form an alliance with far-right parties to block these new nitrogen emission regulations.