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The local lobbying groups and their impact on the Dutch municipality elections

On 21 March 2018, the Dutch people will vote for local their municipality board. In preparation for these elections, the local lobbying groups are more than ever present to voice their own local interests. Arco Timmermans, Endowed Professor Public Affairs at Leiden University, discusses these groups in the Leidsch Dagblad.

Setting the agenda

According to Arco Timmermans, the number one goal of local lobbyists is to put their interests on the agenda. This is why these groups are active so long in advance of the elections: parties are still in the process of setting up their programmes. Putting their interests on the programme is not just important now, but also after the elections. Timmermans: ‘As interest group, you can then point politicians to these promises and that they are supposed to honour these promises. No matter what the subject is, no one wants to have a reputation of someone that breaks promises’.  

Amateur lobbyists

A significant portion of the lobbying at these local levels is done by amateurs, such as hobbyists, volunteers or people with experience from practice. According to Timmermans, lobbying by these kinds of people can be effective, but only if they know how to approach it properly. You need to find and talk to the right people, and do that in a proper way. That is why recently many bureaus and organisations have tried to fill this gap and help these amateurs lobby more effectively.  

Further reading

You can find the full article (in Dutch) on the website of the Leidsch Dagblad.