Immigrant candidates win personal votes in Dutch election

Following local elections on March 3, 2010, Radio Netherlands Online profiles the increasing success of candidates of an immigrant background in earning personal votes. While the phenomenon is not unusual, particularly in local elections, it appears to have happened on a larger scale during the recent elections, as in “every major city, and many medium-sized cities in the provinces, candidates of immigrant background have jumped ahead of their colleagues”.
During an election voters may cast a ballot for their preferred party, or opt instead to vote directly for a candidate within a party. Thus within the proportional representational system, given a high enough popularity among preference voters, a candidate can potentially be elected regardless of their standing on a party’s candidate list.