Dutch vote in provincial elections days after tram attack

Dutch vote in provincial elections days after tram attack
Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte, right, and Justice Minister Ferd Grapperhaus arrive at a makeshift memorial for victims of a shooting incident in a tram in Utrecht, Netherlands, Tuesday, March 19, 2019. A gunman killed three people and wounded others on a tram in the central Dutch city of Utrecht Monday March 18, 2019. (AP Photo/Peter Dejong)

THE HAGUE, Netherlands (AP) — Dutch voters are casting ballots in regional elections that are seen as passing a midterm judgment on the ruling national coalition of Prime Minister Mark Rutte and could indirectly eliminate his majority in Parliament’s upper house.

Wednesday’s election is for 570 legislators in provincial governments who, in turn, will elect members of the Dutch parliament’s Senate in May.

The voting comes just days after a shooter opened fire on a tram in the central city of Utrecht, killing three passengers and seriously wounding three more.

Populist anti-immigration parties Forum for Democracy and the Party for Freedom of anti-Islam lawmaker Geert Wilders have been polling strongly ahead of the vote.

Voters also are choosing members of water boards, who are responsible for maintaining dikes and local waterways.