Thursday, 16 March 2017
Dutch Election - Wilders Falters, Labour Crash, Green Left Gain
The political establishment across Europe are celebrating yesterday’s Dutch general election result, where Gert Wilders' party, PVV, did not make the large gains that opinion polling have been suggesting. The turn-out, at 80%, was unusually large.
The PVV stood on an unambiguous platform of anti-EU, anti-Muslim immigration policies, and it was thought would follow the right wing popularist trend of Brexit and Trump in recent protest votes. Well done to the Dutch people for rejecting this type of divisive politics.
The high turnout and spread of votes amongst several parties, played a part in halting PVV's advance, but perhaps more significantly, the centre right VVD party, stole some of the anti-immigration rhetoric from PVV, and the public row with Turkey probably helped as well.
Echoes of the UK, where the Tories are playing the same game, and thereby gaining former UKIP voters with anti-immigrant policies and rhetoric. It is a widely held view that the rise of the National Front in the UK in the 1970’s was halted by the election of Margaret Thatcher’s Tory government, which was big on patriotism.
The Labour Party, PvdA, were the big losers, after participating in a coalition government with the centre right party VVD, with further echoes of the Lib Dems, this time, in the UK, and a continuing slide by social democrat parties in Europe that have embraced neo-liberalism. PvdA went from 38 seats to just 9.VVD won the most seats, with 33, down 8.
Smaller parties were the main gainers, with the Dutch GreenLeft Party (GroenLinks in Dutch) gaining 10 seats, going from 4 to 14. As the name suggests the party is a left wing environmental one, and describes itself as "green", "social" and "tolerant." Not explicitly ecosocialist, it is after all a reformist party, but certainly heading in an ecosocialist direction.
The result demonstrates that a Green Left party can take significant votes off social democratic parties, particularly in the bigger cities. GreenLeft topped the poll in Amsterdam.
A coalition government will have to be built between at least 4 parties, but GreenLeft have said all along that they will not participate in a right or centre right government. It would be wise to stick to that after what happened to the PvdA at this election.
This is an English translation of a statement by GreenLeft about yesterday’s Dutch general election.
From their website GroenLinks:
Thank you for voting, thank you for your commitment to the campaign. We have shown along that ideals do matter in politics. We showed together that we can get the country moving. We have written history.
Together we form a great new movement, which connects green and leftist values together. A movement for change. We go on.
Join us so we can listen to you. We need you, to share concerns with each other. To exchange new ideas. To discuss how we proceed not only from The Hague, but also in the country to bring real change in the Netherlands.
Let's change the Netherlands together.
Congratulations to GroenLinks from Green Left in London.