Netherlands

Populism can also have a beneficial side to it

It is probably too early to hope that with the general election in the Netherlands the strength of the right-wing populists in Europe is on the wane. As the reasons for their success remain: Many people are frightened of immigration, globalisation and an overly powerful EU. The 2017 election year has kicked off and the result is gratifying at first sight. Because the general election in the Netherlands ended in a surprisingly clear victory for the liberal-conservative VVD. The party led by Prime Minister Mark Rutte managed to bag a good 20 percent of the votes. More importantly, at the same time the right-wing populist PVV achieved a far worse result than opinion polls had suggested it would in recent weeks. There are no doubt many different reasons for the clear turn in favour of the political centre ground. Shortly before the election many of the Dutch voters were still…

Netherlands: Wilders out!

In yesterday’s general parliamentary elections in the Netherlands the liberal-conservative party VVD chalked up a surprisingly clear victory. According to current projections, the party led by the current prime minister Mark Rutte won 33 seats (21.3% of the votes) out of the 150 seats in the lower house of parliament. At the same time, the right-wing populist PVV turned in a far poorer result than the election opinion polls of the last few weeks had forecast. Nevertheless, going by the preliminary results the ruling governing coalition, consisting of the VVD and the social democratic PvdA, has as expected been voted out of office. Whether the PvdA is available for another alliance at all is uncertain after its poor performance in the poll. So, Rutte could need at least three new coalition partners to achieve an absolute majority of seats. The situation heralds difficult and possibly long coalition negotiations. The elections…