Thursday, March 16, 2017
Dutch Elections - Geert Wilder Loses, But Puts Himself In The Winning Position
The results are in on the Dutch elections.Geert Wilders will likely not be the Netherlands next prime minister. And while EU loving, Muslim refugee friendly politicians like German Chancellor Angela Merkel are claiming this as a victory, it's a very temporary one at best if at all.
The end results showed the present PM Mark Rutte's Liberal Party (VVD) with the most seats at 33, giving him first shot at forming the new coalition. That was actually a net loss of 8 seats. And doesn't Rutte look trustworthy?
In second place was Geert Wilders and his Freedom Party (PVV) ended up with 20 seats, a gain of 5. As Wilders himself tweeted, "We were the 3rd largest party of the Netherlands. Now we are the 2nd largest party. Next time we will be nr. 1!"
The most significant result had to do with the defeat of the ruling coalition as a whole. VVD's main partner, the Labour Party (PvdA) lost 19 seats, more than 75% of its total presence in the chamber.At only 9 seats, they aren't enough to give Rutte a governing coalition of 76 seats.
Rutte could try to put something together with Labour, D66 ( best described a 'centrists' who are also social liberals) and CDA (Christen-Democratisch Appèl) a center right party which would give Rutte and VVD 80 seats. But that would involve putting an extremely disparate group together and a lot of serious horse trading, since without CDA and D66 there's no shot at a coalition by Rutte. Whichmeans that if either of those parties won't play ball, the only alternative is Wilders and PVV. Or a coalition with the Green/Red party (10 seats), Labour (9),and the Socialists (14 seats) and who knows who else to get him to the magic number of 76. It would be an incredibly fragile coalition. And if Rutte fails, it's the turn of Wilders and PVV.
Why did Wilders fall short?
My impression of a great many Dutch is that they while they can be shockingly direct in private, as a society they value complacency, the status quo and ‘niceness.’ They don’t particularly care for upset or contention.
Geert Wilders simply demanded too much for many of them, so they went with what they saw as a safer, less damading choice. Of course, it isn’t, but then again you can’t say Wilders didn’t make significant progress. His party gained some seats and got a lot of votes, especially in Muslim dominated Rotterdam, believe it or not.
Had he toned down things just a little, just a smidge and not picked a fistfight with Rudde, he might be looking at being part of the coalition, with a strong voice on much of what he wanted to accomplish. In any event, as Wilders himself said, he’s not going away. And he may end up being part of the governing coalition anyway, with Rutte swallowing his bile in order to form the coalition he needs. He may have to turn to Wilders in the end after all...especially since ignoring the second largest part would seem 'not proper' to a lot of the Dutch, a denial of the consensus they prize.
I also wouldn’t count Europe out quite yet. The UK appears to be s-l-o-w-l-y coming to its senses, Denmark looks to be electing an populist right wing government and the Visograd nations in the east are solid. And then, there’s Marine Le Pen.
Erdogan’s antics are also causing a lot of people to do some thinking, especially as Turkey has the largest conventional army in Europe. The more things change...well, you know the rest of that one!