SP doubles strength in local elections

7 March 2006

SP doubles strength in local elections

The SP was, together with the Labour Party, the biggest overall winner in today's 2006 local council elections. The total number of SP council seats rose from 157 to 333. If the party were to repeat its performance in the coming parliamentary elections, it would grow from its present level of nine MPs to seventeen, making it, along with the PvdA (Labour Party), CDA (Christian Democrats) and VVD (right wing liberals), one of the major political parties of the Netherlands.

Celebrations at the SP election night centre in Amsterdam

The SP won not only in places where it was already represented, but also gained seats in every one of the 38 local authority areas where the it stood candidates for the first time. In most cases it won two or three seats and in several places as many as four. The most spectacular result came in Vught, near Den Bosch, where, despite never having stood candidates before, the SP went straight to the top, recording 22.9% of the votes to become the town's biggest party, as it is in six other towns. Exceptionally high votes were also recorded in cities as far apart as Groningen in the north, Haarlem just outside Amsterdam, the historic university town of Leiden and Nijmegen, on the German border, where for the last four years the SP has shared power with Labour and the Green Left, leading the town to be dubbed 'Havana on the Waal'.

Asked to explain his party's extraordinary success, SP leader Jan Marijnissen said that to a large extent it was an expression of the voters' disgust at the policies of the present Christian Democrat-Liberal coalition. Together with their small coalition party D66, these two parties were the election's biggest losers. “This government is finished,” he said. “The people want a change, they want more socially-minded policies.” For the SP the message is clear, as is the target for next year's elections: seventeen or more MPs, a broad left majority, and a progressive cabinet which will reverse the present government's attacks on the welfare state, public services, and the most vulnerable sections of Dutch society.

For the full results, go to https://sp.nl/nieuws/verkiezingen/raden2006/ The headings are in Dutch, but don't worry. The red dots on the left represent the number of seats won in 2002, those on the right the number in 2006.

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