Dutch voters went to the polls on Wednesday to vote for the provincial assemblies. But the turnout was disappointingly low, Radio Netherlands reported.
At 1:00 p.m. local time, the turnout in most of the country's 12 provinces was just 14 percent.
More than 12 million people are eligible to vote in the elections to choose a total of 564 provincial assembly representatives. More than 10,000 voting stations throughout the country were open from 7:30 a.m. to 9:00 p.m.
The provincial layer of government sits between the municipal authorities and the central government in the Hague. It has a coordinating role and doesn't usually attract much attention.
But the votes will also indirectly determine the members of the Senate, or the upper house of the Dutch parliament, since the 75 members of the Senate will be elected by the new provincial assemblies.
The outcome could be crucial for the new coalition government, sworn in two weeks ago, which comprises Christian Democrats, Labor and the Christian Union.
The coalition, which has a slight majority in the lower house, will have a more difficult task if the opposition gains control of the Senate, because the Senate can veto laws passed by the lower house.
Analysts expect the Socialist Party and the conservative Liberals, the two biggest opposition parties, to emerge as winners. If so, this would be one of the few times since World War I that opposition parties take control of the Senate.