European Parliament Elections
The Netherlands elects 25 representatives to the European Parliament. The electoral system is based on proportional representation. The Netherlands comprises one electoral district. The Hare/d'Hondt formula is used and there is no legal threshold of representation. The party lists are closed but non-blocked. Hence, voters are provided with the opportunity of overruling the party ranking of candidates.
In the latest European Parliament elections, held on 4 June 2009, the two main parties in the Dutch government, the Christian Democrats (CDA) and the Labour Party (PvdA), suffered a marked decline in support (CDA lost 2 seats; PvdA lost 4). Geert Wilders' Party for Freedom (PVV), came second in the elections with 16.97 percent, winning 4 seats in the European Parliament in its first attempt. Observers said that the Muslim integration and anti-EU sentiment seemed to contribute to the Freedom Party's success - but that the message from voters is mixed because pro-European parties also did well. Turnout at the election was 36.75 percent, down from 39.26 in 2004.