The Postedia

A rural populist party, a big winner in the Dutch provincial elections

The big winner in the Dutch provincial elections was the Peasants-Citizens Movement (BBB, as it stands in Dutch), a recently created populist party born out of rural outrage over the government’s environmental policies.

BBB’s success in Wednesday’s vote, which determines the composition of the Senate, is a heavy blow to incumbent Prime Minister Mark Rutte’s four-party coalition. The vote calls into question the government’s ability to pass key laws, including measures to drastically cut nitrogen emissions.

“The Netherlands clearly showed that we are tired of this policy. told public radio and TV channel NOS Carolyn van der Plas, former agriculture journalist and founder of BBB. “It’s not just because of nitrogen, it’s because of the citizens who are not being watched, not being listened to and not being taken seriously,” he added.

Van der Plas, who founded the party four years ago, said the party was ready to talk to everyone and that the movement could “no longer continue to be ignored”. “The Hague train keeps moving, let’s stop it,” he said.

With nearly 90% of the votes counted, BBB won a 19% share of the vote. That percentage is estimated to be enough to take 15 of the 75 seats in the Senate when provincial assembly members elect their new representatives in the upper house at the end of May.

A difficult mandate for Rutte

Thus, the new BBB party will become the main block in the upper house. The Labor (PvdA) and Green Left (Groenlinks) parties are expected to win another 15 senators between them. The forecast of the parties included in Rute’s coalition will be from 32 mandates to 24.

Rutte, who has ruled the Netherlands since 2010, congratulated Van der Plas but said on Thursday that the result did not pose a threat to the government. “I think the cabinet can remain stable in the coming years because we have parties that want to take responsibility,” he said.

However, it is an outcome that will seriously complicate his mandate, to say the least. In principle, conservative leader Rutte could turn to the PvdA/Green Left alliance for a majority in the Senate to approve new laws. In practice, the two parties have already said they will block the ruling coalition’s entire climate program unless it increases its ambition and speed. For example, they want to end subsidies to the fossil fuel-based industry and close all coal-fired power plants within two years.

environmental issue

Rutte’s task is likely to be made even more difficult in the 12 provincial assemblies tasked with implementing the government’s environmental plans. In 5 of these 12 congregations, BBB was the first power. In some cases, the voting percentage is more than 30%.

In order to halve nitrogen emissions by 2030, the Dutch government has decided to buy land from farmers and reduce the number of livestock by a third. Nitrogen levels in soil and water in the Netherlands, the world’s second largest agricultural exporter, exceed maximum levels set by the European Union.

Despite a severe housing crisis, several construction projects have been halted by the same problem, with the court ruling in favor of environmental groups that urged the government to reduce emissions and preserve nature rather than issuing new construction permits. The BBB, which has gained support from populist and far-right parties around the world, argues that the problem is overblown and that farmers’ livelihoods are at risk due to the ecological transition.

The election also demonstrates how fickle the fortunes of populist parties can be. The far-right Forum for Democracy (FvD), led by Thierry Beaudet, won almost 15% of the vote in the 2019 provincial elections. However, his share of votes fell sharply this week to 3%.

Translated by Francisco de Zarate

Source: El Diario





related posts

Post List

Hot News