The 17 March parliamentary elections in the Netherlands took place under a legal framework that was temporarily changed in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. This introduced early voting and expanded the use of proxy and postal voting. While the elections were well managed, some longstanding issues remain unaddressed, such as the absence of limits on donations from private individuals and legal entities, including those from abroad, and the high threshold for anonymous donations. The lack of judicial review of the election results was also of concern. These are some of the main conclusions of the final report on the elections published today by the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR).
The report offers 10 recommendations to improve the conduct of elections in the Netherlands and to support efforts to bring them further in line with OSCE commitments, as well as other international obligations and standards for democratic elections.
Key recommendations include:
Introducing compulsory registration of all campaign contributions, including in-kind donations, reasonable donation limits, and regulating donations from foreign donors;
ODIHR deployed an Election Expert Team on 6 March 2021 to observe the parliamentary elections in the Netherlands. All 57 countries across the OSCE region have formally committed to following up promptly on ODIHR’s election assessments and recommendations.