"If you don’t vote, you can’t complain later"

Maxim: Local politics isn’t interesting, so why should I vote?

25-02-2010

 Next week it’s voting time. The Dutch are heading for the polling stations to vote in local government elections. Registered non-Dutch can also take part, but will they do that?

 

German Daniel Kotz, researcher at the Faculty of Health, Medicine and Life Sciences, doesn’t recount having an election call this year. Nevertheless, Kotz, who has lived in the Netherlands for years, wasn’t planning to vote. “I am not well informed about the local parties and their programmes. It’s difficult enough to keep up with the views of the national parties of the Netherlands and Germany. I am better informed about German politics. Strange, isn’t it? Because politics in the Netherlands influences my life much more. It’s a matter of feeling, of familiarity with the German parties. However, even with this, I sometimes can’t tell the difference between the ideas of the Christian Democrats and the Social Democrats.”

Law student Jakub Janiak from Poland is definitely going to vote. “I always vote. I think it’s really important, also for international students. You are going to live here for a couple of years so the decisions that are made will influence you too. If you don’t vote, you can’t complain later. I don’t know yet for whom I’m going to vote. I’ve been in Poland the last three weeks so I have to catch up on local politics. Before I make my decision, I will talk to my Dutch friends. I will ask for their opinions on the different politicians and their views.” 

Although Italian Marco Ricorda, master's student of European Studies, is only here for a short period – he came in August and is planning to leave before the Summer – he will head for one of the polling places. “I saw the leaflets of D66. They were written in English, which is very smart. The party has really good ideas, specially for the international students, such as the student housing and parking facilities. The housing service can be better and more reasonable. It took me a while to find a room and still spending a lot of money every month.” In Italy, Ricorda feels more affiliated with the liberal party. “I guess it’s something like the VVD here. But in Maastricht I’m attracted to the D66 programme, which is more social.”

 

 

Wendy Degens, Cleo Freriks, Maurice Timmermans

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