Elections 2024: European elections kick off in the Netherlands with far-right PVV expected to win big

People in the Netherlands will vote for the European Parliament on Thursday. Most other member states will hold their European elections on Sunday.

The Netherlands is not the first to start: people in Estonia have been able to vote since Monday. But these elections will last until Sunday, while the Dutch can only vote on Thursday.

The Netherlands can elect 31 MEPs, two more than it had at the end of the last legislature. According to a recent Ipsos poll, the far-right PVV is expected to win a large share of the vote, increasing its seats in parliament from one to eight.

But much will depend on turnout. Voting is not compulsory in the Netherlands, and only around 40 per cent of eligible voters turned out in 2019.

On the campaign trail on Thursday, PVV leader Geert Wilders urged people to vote, saying that "the coming days are crucial for the future of Europe". Wilders, who has long wanted to organise a "Nexit" referendum, has since toned down his anti-European rhetoric considerably.

No results until Sunday

The Netherlands is the only country to hold its one-day election so early. Polling stations will be open from 7.30 until 21.00, after which the votes will be counted. However, the results will not be announced until Sunday evening, after voting has been completed in all 27 member states.

Irish voters will vote on Friday. On Saturday, voters in Latvia, Malta and Slovakia will go to the polls, with the rest of the member states, including Belgium, voting on Sunday. In the Czech Republic and Italy, the elections are spread over two days.

A total of 720 MEPs will be elected across the EU's 27 member states for a five-year term.


PVV leader Geert Wilders casts his ballots for the European elections in The Hague © PHOTO NICK GAMMON / AFP

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