Dutch voters are casting ballots in regional elections that are seen as passing a midterm judgment on the ruling national coalition of Prime Minister Mark Rutte and could indirectly eliminate his majority in Parliament’s upper house.
Wednesday’s election is for 570 legislators in provincial governments who, in turn, will elect members of the Dutch parliament’s Senate in May.
The voting comes just days after a shooter opened fire on a tram in the central city of Utrecht, killing three passengers and seriously wounding three more.
Populist anti-immigration parties Forum for Democracy and the Party for Freedom of anti-Islam lawmaker Geert Wilders have been polling strongly ahead of the vote.
Voters also are choosing members of water boards, who are responsible for maintaining dikes and local waterways.