Pieter Omtzigt is leading in the polls. (Photo by Patrick van Katwijk/BSR Agency/Getty Images)


Polls suggest seismic shift in Dutch politics


The brand new political party of Pieter Omtzigt, a popular centrist politician in the Netherlands, is already the biggest in the country, according to the latest polling over the weekend of August 26-27.

Omtzigt’s party Nieuws Sociaal Contract (New Social Contract) would secure 31 seats in the Dutch Parliament, according to a poll by I&O Research, while a Maurice de Hond poll gives him 29.

Such a result would upend the political landscape in the Netherlands yet again, as the new party would be the biggest right out of the gates.

Omtzigt and his party have a strong centrist image and apparently seem able to attract voters from both the Left and Right.

The traditional Christian Democratic CDA party, of which Omtzigt was once a member but which he left over what he said was poor treatment, is polling poorly coming in with just three seats, according to I&O or five as de Hond puts it at. At the last elections they still earned 15 seats but even that was, historically speaking, already quite low.

The general elections are set for November 22.

The score for the new party in the latest poll is slightly lower than previously, but Omtzigt’s plans have only just become clear now he has a party and a platform, and some other politicians are joining his ranks.

The polls indicate other parties are losing out with those in the current government seeming to be suffering most. The party of outgoing Prime Minister Mark Rutte, the left-liberal D66 (the big winner in the last elections), and the ChristenUnie, along with the CDA, are all losing considerable ground.

The Farmer Citizen Movement (BBB), the big winner in the last State elections, would come out with 13 seats according to I&O – considerably less than the 21 seats in the previous poll on 17 July. De Hond also gave BBB 21 seats then but now gives them 14.

The new GroenLinks-PvdA partnership, led by “Green Pope” Frans Timmermans, had mixed results. According to I&O, the party would end up with 28 seats. That is 11 more than both parties currently have in parliament. In that case, GroenLinks-PvdA would be the second-biggest party behind Omtzigt’s new group.

De Hond has them securing 24 seats, which would put them in third place behind the centre-liberal VVD party.

It is, of course, unknown as to how the cards will actually fall, as the elections are still three months away and there have been no major debates yet. But, with many politicians from the traditional parties eyeing different positions, the end results might contain some surprises.