If I could vote in The Netherlands

I have never voted. I’m not proud of it, but in my country elections’ results are usually known way in advance. Besides, you can only vote for candidates in the village where your father comes from (or your husband, after you marry) – don’t get me started on women’s rights – even if you have never lived there. Or if it’s on the other side of the country. So your choices are quite limited. And pointless. Lebanese politicians also often manage to pass on their position to their sons, sons in law or cousins (by mobilising or intimidating enough people to vote for them).

Some of them don’t age or die. I remember that when I was a kid, I thought our speaker of parliament was a vampire. He has been holding his position for over 25 years and he looks exactly the same as when I was a kid. And acts the same. He just is. No matter how many elections pass by.

Now that I am in the Netherlands, and although I cannot vote (not yet at least), I am following the parliamentary elections closely. Like many Dutch, I turned to an online guide to know where I stand – obviously out of curiosity – in today’s elections. What you go through in this quiz, is a series of propositions that have been debate topics or were brought up by the various parties. They focus on immigrants and refugees, culture and art, infrastructure, health care, euthanasia for the elderly, discrimination in recruitment, permanent and flex contracts, obligatory unpaid work for youth (only baby boomers come up with that), etc. You answer ‘agree’, ‘disagree’, ‘neither,’ or skip the question. And voilà, you get your parties ranked by percentage of agreement with your answers.

Being an immigrant amidst the rise of far-right politicians and populism in Europe made me want to understand as much as possible the changes that are happening to the Dutch political scene as they will affect my life in the next four years. I answered all 30 questions in the quiz, with my husband explaining from time to time some Dutch words I did not understand and of course trying to influence my answers. It did not work though, I was pretty firm with him.

At the Top 1 and 2 were Denk and Artikel 1 at 66%, with ChristenUnie at 62% and D66 at 59%. I didn’t expect these results, especially that I never heard of Denk or Artikel 1 before. My first choice was actually D66 followed by GroenLinks. The bottom line is that you need to have a thorough look at the history and future plan of every party before you vote. As I heard, some parties – like the PvdA (labor party) – have made many promises in the past that did not lead to positive results in practice.

Polls close at nine in the evening and preliminary results are expected around midnight. Here’s to hoping.

Dutch voting – not a single cop around – at a booth in a nearby school in Amsterdam. (And the sun is shining, yay!)

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