Students on BBB's victory in provincial elections
'I hope we can work towards a better climate together with farmers'
Zhitae Verseput, a Social Work student at HU, volunteered at a polling station and voted for the PvdA. She has mixed feelings about the election results: on the one hand, she is happy with the results in the city of Utrecht. GroenLinks became the largest there, followed by D66 and the PvdA, but otherwise, she finds the results rather disappointing. ''I think by myself: 'how can you vote for the BBB?' But apparently, that is the party most people want. Politics should reflect society, so I resign myself to that, but it's not the direction I want to go.''
A bit of a shock
For Britt, a second-year student in Interdisciplinary Social Sciences at UU, it was a bit of a shock when she saw the exit polls. She may have expected BBB to be big, but she had not seen such a victory coming. On the other hand, she says, we saw the same with Forum voor Democratie during the previous elections. She herself voted for Groenlinks and is relieved that left-wing parties also got many votes. She thinks the BBB's victory is because farmers do not feel understood by politicians. Julian, who like Britt, studies ISW and cast a vote for Volt, agrees. He thinks the BBB's success is primarily due to the campaigning and media strategy of Caroline van der Plas, who was a frequent guest on talk shows.
Isabelle, a first-year Veterinary student, lives on a farm. She voted PvdA for the Provincial Council because she thinks the climate is important. ''The position of farmers at the moment is not nice, but something has to be done about the nitrogen problem, and the PvdA wants to do that.''
The significant victory of the BBB did not surprise her at all. In her own environment, she saw how people, who traditionally voted CDA, had lost faith in that party and opted for the BBB. ''The government's nitrogen plans are just a no-go for farmers.''
According to Isabelle, we should not forget that the nitrogen debate is also an emotional one for farmers. In rural areas, there is a close-knit community and farmland has often been in the family for a long time. Not surprisingly, therefore, farmers react fiercely to government plans for possible expropriation, she says. ''Farmers do want to change, but together. And that together, that is what is lacking.'' According to Isabelle, many farmers want big emitters like Schiphol and Tata Steel to make changes too. ''I hope we can create a good climate together with the farmers and that we are not going to do it without them.”
Her friend Zoë is a first-year Biology student at UU and also voted PvdA. She did not find the result very surprising and notices from those around her that the way farmers are treated is not okay. ''You notice the frustration and uncertainty about the nitrogen plans among farmers, so I understand why BBB is so popular.'' She sees that the contradictions in society are increasing, for example, because of the fierce way people sometimes react to dissenting opinions on political issues.
Utrecht ballot box result
Much more is now known about the ballot box results. In all but three student cities, GroenLinks turned out to have received the most votes. In Breda and The Hague, VVD became the largest and in Enschede, the BBB.
At the polling station in the Administration Building at the Utrecht Science Park, 1,567 people came to cast their votes. By far, the most votes went to GroenLinks (32.3 per cent), followed by Volt (18.8 per cent) and the Partij voor de Dieren (11.74 per cent). The BoerBurgerBeweging received only 3.82 per cent of votes at this polling station, while in the province, it became the largest party with 13.2 per cent of votes. In the city of Utrecht, the party got 5.2 per cent of the votes.
The two UU students who stood for election to the Provincial Council both won seats. Noortje Flink, representative of the PvdA in Utrecht, received a total of 4919 votes. Frank van Breukelen, list leader of Forum voor Democratie in Utrecht, could count on 1222 votes.