Far-right party wins most votes in Dutch provincial elections


Far-right party wins most votes in Dutch provincial elections

Harm Zonderland

30 March 2019

On March 20, provincial councils were elected in all of the 12 provinces of the Netherlands. The most significant outcome of the election was the entrance into the Senate of the Forum for Democracy (FvD), led by Thierry Baudet. The far-right, near-fascist party won 12 out of 75 seats.

The FvD was elected into the House of Representatives for the first time in 2017, when it won two out of 150 seats. In a statement made after the provincial elections Baudet issued a message to prime minister Mark Rutte: “You can no longer ignore the FvD.”

It was the first time that the FvD was running in the provincial elections, and it was among the top three parties in all the provinces. It is the strongest party in Noord-Holland and Zuid-Holland, where the capital Amsterdam, the Harbor of Rotterdam and the political center in The Hague are situated.

The FvD’s political agenda includes a call for closing the borders. It has been able to capitalize on the xenophobia stoked up by the rightwing-liberal VVD of prime minister Rutte and the far-right Freedom Party (PVV) of Geert Wilders.

On the same nationalistic grounds, the FvD proposes to leave the European Union. Furthermore, FvD’s leader Thierry Baudet is a so-called “climate change denier.” He was able to gain some working-class support by criticizing government spending on renewable energy rather than on healthcare.

Voter turnout was higher, at 56 percent, than in the previous provincial elections in 2015 when 48 percent of those eligible voted.

The media concentrated their attention on a major consequence of the provincial elections: the composition of the Senate, the First Chamber of Parliament, that is elected by the provincial…

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