Netherlands: Local politics lacks diversity, research finds
Following the local elections held in March 2018, new aldermen have been appointed across the Netherlands. In the 237 municipalities where coalitions have been formed, just 2% of cabinet posts have been filled by candidates with a migrant background. Aldermen remain overwhelmingly white, male and middle-aged concludes newspaper Trouw.
The proportion is lower than the figure observed in 2014 when 3% of the 1500 aldermen appointed were from minority groups. This was still far behind the increasing diversity of the Dutch population which has 23% people with a migrant background, meaning either or both their parents were born outside the Netherlands.
Julian van Ostaaijen of the University of Tilburg told Trouw that one major reason for the imbalance is that party membership is dominated by older white men. To create opportunities for minority candidates, parties need to invite non-members to apply for aldermen’s posts. Some mainstream parties, including the Christian Democrats and GroenLinks, have already set up networks or introduced diversity training to attract a wider range of candidates.