Dutch election: Will voters plump for change during a pandemic?

Europe Update

The fallout from a political scandal, an ongoing global pandemic, an economic downturn, simmering civil unrest: any one of these challenges would make for a fraught election campaign.

But in the run-up to this week’s national election (COVID-19 has seen voting spread out over three days, from March 15-17), political parties in the Netherlands were confronted with the reality of all four happening at once.

Unease at scandals and ongoing social issues aside, the Dutch electorate appears to be keenly aware of the need for stability during a time of crisis that is gripping the whole world, not least the Netherlands.

Some, though, are concerned with the country’s direction and are railing against what they see as regressive measures to combat the spread of coronavirus.

In short, while the result is broadly expected to be an endorsement of continuity, some are seeing Wednesday’s pandemic poll as a bellwether election for other major elections across Europe later this year.