Recommendation given by Electoral Council on amendments to Senate elections

Upon the advice of the State Secretary of Interior and Kingdom Relations, the Electoral Council has given a recommendation about making a few amendments to the Elections Act. These proposed amendments concern the election of the Senate, in particular: raising the preferential threshold, fixing nomination day at an earlier date in connection with forming combined lists, and the time of the voting

photo of seats in the Dutch Senate's Assembly hall
Image: Electoral Council

Combined lists

Pursuant to the current Elections Act, political parties are now allowed to form combined lists for the Senate after the Provincial Council elections. The Electoral Council agrees with the State Secretary that this scheme is questionable. For example, when the voter is casting his vote for the Provincial Council, he is unaware of the existence of any combined lists and therefore unable to include this issue in his decision-making.  At the same time the Electoral Council has also pointed out some of the (undesirable) side effects of the proposed amendment and two alternatives are discussed that do not have these disadvantages.

Raising the preference threshold and the time of the voting

The Electoral Council concurs with establishing a uniform time for voting for the Senate in the law, namely, at 15.00 hours. The proposal to raise the preference threshold - from half the electoral quotient to ‘larger than’ the electoral quotient - can rely on the Electoral Council’s consent. In fact, both amendments are in agreement with earlier advice given by the Electoral Council. Finally, the Electoral Council recommends that a few of the other proposals taken from earlier advice, inter alia, about central lists of candidates and submitting lists of candidates for inspection, should still be incorporated in the legislative proposal.