THE HAGUE, March 21 (Xinhua) -- The green left party GroenLinks and the local parties are the major winners of the Dutch municipal council elections, the first results and exit polls show on Wednesday.
One year after the national elections the Dutch electorate went back to the polling stations again to cast their vote in the municipal council elections.
In the Netherlands, elections to the municipal councils take place once every four years. This time the elections took place in 335 of the 380 municipalities, 45 did not take part in due to municipal changes or mergers.
The green lefties GroenLinks became the biggest winners of the national elections last year with a rise of 10 seats from 4 to 14 seats in the lower house of parliament and they performed well again municipal council elections. The local parties also booked major wins.
According to an exit poll by national broadcaster NOS GroenLinks became the biggest party in the capital Amsterdam, moving from 6 to 11 of the 45 seats in the council, compared to the municipal council elections four years ago.
In Utrecht GroenLinks also became the biggest party, rising from 9 to 12 of the 45 seats. "That we were able to extend the fantastic victory of last year is unique," GroenLinks leader Jesse Klaver said during a party meeting in Amsterdam.
In both cities the leftist democrats D66 finished second, but suffered big losses, just like traditional big parties PvdA (Labor) and SP (Socialist Party). These losses of these three parties in Amsterdam and Utrecht could also be seen in municipalities in the rest of the country. Government parties VVD (rightist liberals) and CDA (Christian Democrats), which form a government with D66 and small Christian party ChristenUnie, stabilized more or less.
"It seems that we will become the biggest party in the municipal council elections for the first time in our party history," Prime Minister Mark Rutte, VVD leader, said in his speech at a party meeting. "Let's be happy with these preliminary results."
In Rotterdam local party Leefbaar Rotterdam maintained its position as biggest party with a total of 11 seats according to the exit poll, but lost three seats compared to four years ago.
The right wing populist anti-Islam Party for Freedom PVV joined the municipal council elections for the first time in several cities and got 2 seats in Rotterdam and Utrecht, according to the exit poll. In Amsterdam the right-wing Forum voor Democratie got 2 seats.
Migrant party Denk also joined the municipal council elections for the first time and entered with 4 seats in Rotterdam, 3 in Utrecht and 3 in Amsterdam. All definite results of the major cities are expected on Thursday.