While the Netherlands prepares for the General Election on 15 March, some political parties are wondering why King Willem-Alexander will not go and vote. Like all Dutch citizens over 18, King Willem-Alexander received his voting card in the mail, and he is eligible to vote.
Lodewijk Asscher of the PvdA and Alexander Pechtold of D66 have called on King Willem-Alexander to go and vote. According to Alexander Pechtold, the King has to lead by example. Lodewijk Asscher was surprised that the King and his family don’t vote, as explained on the official website. The vote is kept secret “so no one would know who he voted for,” said Asscher. The official website states, “The King has to the right to vote, but he doesn’t use it because he is impartial. The same goes for Queen Máxima and Princess Beatrix.”
King Willem-Alexander explained his choice not to vote during his visit to Krimpenerwaard when he was asked about it. He said that despite the fact that he can vote, he won’t because he doesn’t want people to speculate about his vote. “If the vote wasn’t a secret, I’d go vote, and I’d vote blank.” For King Willem-Alexander and the constitutional monarchy, it is very important that there is absolutely no doubt about the Head of State’s impartiality.
King Willem-Alexander’s predecessors, Queens Wilhelmina, Juliana and Beatrix, also never went to vote during their reign, even when it was required by law for every Dutch citizen between 1917 and 1970. They were never fined for not voting. However, Queen Juliana did vote before and after she was Queen of the Netherlands. Back in 1988, when Juliana was just recovering from a broken hip, she went to vote to the great surprise of the staff. Speculation about her political preference was all over the media. Princess Beatrix won’t be following in her mother’s footsteps.