Sun 22 September 2019

Arnold Le Goeuil talks to Mark Lievisse Adriaanse, Political editor at NRC Media and Lise Witteman, Redacteur for Vrij Nederland and De Groene Amsterdammer about the upcoming European elections mean for the Netherlands

Like other European countries, Netherlands could send numerous Eurosceptic MEPs to Strasbourg. The newly created Forum voor Democratie (FdV) could obtain 5 seats polling ahead of Volkspartij voor Vrijheid en Democratie Prime Minister Mark Rutte’s centre-right party (5 seats as well). The FdV has outperformed Geert Wilders’ PVV, promising a tougher line on social issues, immigration and economy and vowing to hold a Nexit referendum. For Lise Witteman, redactor for Vrij Nederland and De Groene Amsterdammer, ‘Euroscepticism in the Netherlands has changed faces, but is far from decreasing’.

Dutch electoral system is based on a proportional representation forcing consensus and moving politics towards the centre. But it looks like the ruling centre-right coalition would struggle to get an overall majority if an election happens anytime soon.

The Dutch broadly support EU membership and in case of Nexit, 87% said they would vote for remain

The far-right, PVV and FdV could get 35/150 seats and become a powerful minority force. In that sense, the European Election would be a test of what a next GE could look like. Mrs Witteman states that: ‘if the FvD gets bigger that the VDD, then the VVD would be in big trouble. It would show that they are on their way out and Rutte might not win next parliamentary elections. It’s a signal they couldn’t ignore.

Like France, this centre-right against far-right match isn’t disturbed by the left which is marginalised at the moment. It never truly ruled according to Mark Lievisse Adriaanse, the political redactor at NRC Media. The Greens perform quite well but not enough to represent a major threat to the centre-right. The VDD along other centrist parties like D66 or CDA, represents the pro-EU vote in a country paradoxically pro-EU but also sovereignist. The Dutch broadly support EU membership and in case of Nexit, 87% said they would vote for remain but at the same time, in 2005 they rejected the EU Constitution by nearly two-thirds. History has shown that polls are not entirely trustable and that campaigns could shake the political system in both ways.

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