Brussels Signal is live today from 5pm CET to discuss the ramifications of Geert Wilders’ earth-shattering election win in the Netherlands.
Click here to join us on YouTube, where we will hear from top experts on one of the biggest political upsets this year.
This November’s Dutch election is the most momentous in the country’s post-war history – surpassing even that of 2002 in the wake of Pim Fortuyn’s assassination.
Geert Wilders’ PVV is now the Netherlands’ largest party, with 37 seats and nearly a quarter of the vote. A leader who was once reviled as a dangerous Islamophobe – he had even been banned from entering the United Kingdom in 2009 – could now be the next Dutch Prime Minister.
The parties of the Rutte government – VVD, D66, CDA and ChristenUnie – were the big losers of the election, CDA losing two-thirds of its seats. The other winners of the election were Pieter Omtzigt’s new centrist party NSC with 20 seats and the Farmers, doing less well than expected but still winning seven seats. Former EU Commission Vice President Frans Timmermans’ alliance of Greens and Labour is now the second force making decent gains but underperforming on earlier expectations.
The polls largely missed the steep rise of the PVV, only taking real note in the last few days of the campaign. Even these polls underestimated Wilders’ support by 10 percentage points. What explains this rise? Where did Wilders’ support come from? Is it a protest vote or have voters permanently shifted? Has Holland’s political landscape changed permanently or have the legacy parties a chance of recovery?
And what happens now? Will Holland’s new government be a Right of centre coalition of PVV, VVD, NSC and potentially Farmers? Will Wilders become Prime Minister – as would normally be expected of the leader of the largest party? Or would the potential coalition agree on a more emollient figure like Farmers’ leader Caroline van der Plas? Or will there be a Left-wing multiparty coalition, with disparate parties coming together to exclude Wilders?
More widely, does the Wilders result presage further seismic populist breakthroughs in next year’s European elections and then in further national elections?
Brussels Signal has assembled an expert panel of leading journalists, top pollsters, and opinion formers to offer their insights and answer some of these questions.
Our panel will include:
Thomas Thaler, APCO Worldwide EU election task force
Romana Abels, reporter at the Dutch newspaper Trouw.nl
Sid Lukassen, a political analyst and former researcher for ECR
Moderator: Justin Stares. Head of News – Brussels Signal