Few surprises and the ‘Moorman effect’: what the papers say about the local elections

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The Dutch local elections have thrown up few surprises, with more local parties in the ascendance and a fillip for the PvdA in Amsterdam. What the papers say.

Attempts by politicians to point at the war in Ukraine to stress the importance of democracy did little to encourage voters, and, according to some, the news dominated the media to such an extent that the opposite was true, the Volkskrant writes in its analysis.

The low national turnout – just 50% compared to 55% in 2018 – was ‘a complacent celebration of democracy’ the paper commented, with the PvdA win in Amsterdam as a blip in an otherwise flatlining and predictable election.

‘Marjolein Moorman gave the city of Wibaut and Schaefer a new boost by profiling herself as a champion of the underprivileged’,  the paper writes, placing her among some of the socialist movement’s most influential figureheads.

The NRC called the election campaigns ‘hyper local’ and not a reflection on what is happening on a national level.

But at the same time the results for national parties are important ‘for their self image, and the dynamics within parties’, the paper said.

The Christian Democrats’ loss, although not as big as predicted, ‘will contribute to a negative feeling about the party and increase pressure on the party leadership,’ the paper said. By the same token Moorman’s win in Amsterdam could give the PvdA a much-needed fillip in the nationals.

However, the fact that a four or five party coalition is now needed in many local councils because of the proliferation of local parties, plus one seat wins for national newcomers BIJ1, Volt and FvD, may complicate local politics, the NRC warned.

Red stronghold

Amsterdam-based paper het Parool concentrated on the results in the capital and the ‘Marjolein effect’ (a slightly more familiar term for what other papers have termed the ‘Moorman effect’) and heads its analysis ‘Amsterdam is back to being a red stronghold!’. This is perhaps a slight exaggeration for what is now a left leaning local council coalition of PvdA, GroenLinks and D66.

‘Social democracy is not dead’, the paper quoted Moorman as saying but it also pointed out that never had Amsterdammers shown so little inclination to cast their vote in the local elections.

Political commentator Wouter de Winther in the Telegraaf  suggested that Moorman’s success was perhaps down to ‘the exhorbitant publicity given to her on NPO1’ but also called her ‘a charismatic leader’ prompting in voters feelings of ‘melancholy’ about former PvdA election sucesses.

In a final sneer to national party leader Lillianne Ploumen, Wither said she celebrated the win ‘as it it was her own’ to bolster an unremarkable year as national party leader.

No Baudet breakthrough

The Financieele Dagblad points out that far right, anti-vax party Forum voor Democratie, failed to break through at a national level, picking up the odd seat here and there, but nothing like their success at the 2019 provincial elections.

Other newcomers Volt and Bij1 did better, although the Volt scandal surrounding MP Nilüfer Gündoğan may have scared off some voters, the paper said.

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