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Local elections of national consequence begin in Netherlands

Local elections, which will affect the number of seats in the Dutch Senate, began in the Netherlands on Wednesday.

Approximately 13.3 million voters will choose the new members of local councils who will serve for four years in 12 provinces. Voters will cast their ballots at train stations and polling centers.

The elections could have major implications for the direction of Dutch politics as they will determine the composition of the country’s 12 provincial legislatures, which in turn elect the national parliament’s upper house.

If there is a significant swing away from the ruling four-party center-right coalition led by Prime Minister Mark Rutte, it could impact his ability to push through reforms during the remainder of his term.

The election is taking place against a backdrop of widespread dissatisfaction with Rutte’s government, with anger simmering among farmers over plans to reduce nitrate pollution.

*Writing and contributions by Aysu Bicer in London

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