News of: Thursday, June 10 2010,

Dutch general elections: move to the right

Yesterday's elections for a new parliament have led to a new political landscape in the Netherlands.

According to the almost final counts, the VVD (the Dutch Liberal/Conservative party) has become the largest party in parliament.
This is for the first time in post-war history.

It means the VVD can start and lead the negotiations to form a coalition government, and will also fill the position of Prime Minister.

An important loser of the elections is the Christian Democrat Party (CDA). This party is often part of the government, and its leader, Jan-Peter Balkenende, has been the Prime Minister of the last 4 governments in Holland. The CDA went down from 41 seats to 21 seats.

The biggest winner is the PVV ('Party for Freedom'), which is most famous for its anti-Islam position. It wants to stop immigration from muslim countries, and has proposed a special tax on wearing a head-scarf of E 1000,- per year. The party is centered around its leader, Mr Geert Wilders, who has also been campaining against the Islam in other countries, with his self-made movie 'Fitna'.
The party was already present in parliament with 9 seats, and now has 24 seats, thus becoming the third political party in the Netherlands.

It is expected that the formation of a new coalition government will take quite some time, as there is no obvious political combination possible. Although the VVD has become the largest party, it only has 31 seats, so it will have to combine with at least 2 other parties to get a government that can count on a majority in parliament (76 seats of the 150-seats parliament).

Part of the complication is that almost all parties have ruled out the possibility of being in the same government with Geert Wilders' PVV.

Therefore, it is very likely that a new government will have to contain one or more progressive parties, which will make the formation of a stable government with the right-wing VVD difficult.
The new government will have to introduce severe budget cuts, and left and right wing parties vary strongly on how to go about this.