Right after 11:30, party leader Kaag says she is “cautiously optimistic”. She thinks her party can keep the 602 council seats it won in 2018. “In most cities, we insist on keeping the number of seats for four years, in The Hague and Amsterdam, we’re doing well. It’s a very exciting evening, but tomorrow we wake up in another country. Many say that the D66 is doing well as a ruling party, people are voting for a party that stands against extremism.”
‘It’s not too hard’
Remarkably, Amsterdam’s loudest chant Muziekgebouw aan ‘t IJ sounded in the exit poll from the capital. Not because of the poll result of the D66 itself, but because of the expected huge loss of FvD. In advance, Jean Paternott, the leader of the D66 party in the House of Representatives, called on the roughly 350 attendees to be “strongly discouraged” if “other democratic parties” lose.
The turnout in the capital was unclear on Wednesday evening, and the turnout in Rotterdam was disappointing. “It’s shocking,” says ex-party leader Rob Getten, who sees how his party cannot multiply in a municipality like Nieuwegein, filled with former Utrecht residents, while rival GL can do so. It gives her a positive thought: “As a climate minister, I don’t mind people voting for the environment.”
Kaag also describes the low turnout as “alarming.” In full-page advertisements, the D66 leader has called on voters in recent days to vote at all to show how powerful democracy is. “But now all parties have to start thinking about how this can happen,” she says. A shot across the bow at what should that reasoning result? “No, I won’t do that.”
Butternote also sees bright spots. After the modest victory and the same applause for his party in Neugen, he believes it is a good idea to “win the progressive parties”.
“These are polls on election day, and we know from the past that a lot can still change,” says MEP Sophie in ‘t Veld, who “want no more speculation.” She had also hoped in advance for good results “in the big cities, but also in smaller ones, like Friesland,” but said above all that she “felt” that people “carried up the ballot more consciously this year” because of Ukraine.
For Shurd Shurdsma, this municipal election was his sixth as campaign manager as well as his last. “Under my successor or Khalifi, the D66 can grow from the nation’s second-largest to the leading position,” he estimates. As a parting gift – after all his weekends in the country – the D66 spends a weekend away with his family at the store for him. Sjoerdsma: “I think it’s going to be Efteling, although I’m feeling more nauseous these days. I think I’ll ride that decent wooden roller coaster.”
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