Newcomer Connect Wageningen keeps its two seats on the council. A recount of part of the votes did not lead to a different result.
© Sven Menschel
This was announced Friday afternoon by Mayor Geert van Rumund who acted as chair of the Central Electoral Council, after the votes of four voting stations had been recounted. According to the mayor, this recount was necessary because the difference between the student party Connect Wageningen and the ChristenUnie was a mere three votes. As a result, Connect Wageningen was given a remaining seat at the cost of the ChristenUnie, which remained at a single seat because of this.
Analysis of the figures provided by the voting stations showed that mistakes might have been made. The Central Electoral Council therefore decided to recount the votes of four voting stations. This did yield somewhat different figures, but not a different result. The difference of three votes in Connect Wageningen’s advantage became twenty: 1300 versus 1280. This result is now final.
‘It’s a real shame’, was the reaction of ChristenUnie’s leading candidate Peter de Haan. ‘We have been stuck on one seat on the council for a while. We have come close to a second seat several times, but never as close as now. One thing has certainly become clear: every vote counts.’ Mark Reijerman, leading candidate for Connect Wageningen, is ‘very pleased’. ‘The suspense was killing me these last few days’, he adds honestly.
According to Van Rumund, there is no reason to doubt the counts of the remaining fifteen voting stations. The Central Electoral Council has therefore decided not to recount those votes. The sitting municipal council, which gathered Monday evening, might decide that the votes need to be recounted after all. But Van Rumund adds that it would require a ‘reasonable doubt’ that mistakes were made. And the Central Electoral Council does not have this doubt.
When asked about the subject, De Haan (ChristenUnie) said he was not yet sure whether he would try for another recount. ‘The difference only became larger instead of smaller. A mistake is easily made. I have often helped at voting stations myself and know how it works. No harm was meant. Furthermore, I might very well want a recount, but I would need to get a majority of the council to support this. I want to calmly think about this.’
Meanwhile, negotiations for a new coalition have started Saturday. Those discussions are publicly accessible and take place in the council chamber. Being the largest party emerging from the elections, GroenLinks has taken the lead in the negotiations. The party has suggested Jan van der Meer, former deputy mayor in Nijmegen, as mediator. According to Reijerman, Connect Wageningen is entering the negotiations with an open mind. ‘We are open to participation in the coalition. But it’s the larger parties’ move first.’