Dutch Ruling Parties Likely to Lose Upper House Majority
The ruling parties in the Netherlands are down in the polls and likely to lose their majority in provincial and Senate elections next month.
According to a poll of polls published by the national broadcaster NOS, three of the four coalition parties would lose seats. Only the small Christian Union would gain.
Prime Minister Mark Rutte’s center-right liberals remain the largest party in the polls. The Greens and far-right Freedom Party compete for second place. Forum for Democracy, another far-right party, is up as well.
Another poll has found that only a third of voters want Rutte’s four-party government to continue.
The NOS cautions that next month’s elections could pan out differently. Far-right voters are less likely to turn out in local and regional elections. The middle-of-the-road Christian Democrats, who are currently in government, usually overperform. Read more
Germany’s Nord Stream Climbdown Should Put Ostpolitik to Rest
Frederick Studemann argues in the Financial Times that Germany’s Ostpolitik breathes its last in the Nord Stream 2 pipeline controversy.
Germany’s allies in Central European and North America have for years argued against the extension of the Baltic Sea pipeline, arguing — correctly — that it is a political project for Moscow. It doesn’t need the extra capacity. It wants to cut its dependence on Russia-wary transit states in Eastern Europe, most notably Ukraine. Read more
Spanish Right Loses Its Mind Over Concession to Catalans
From the opprobrium being heaped on Spanish prime minister Pedro Sánchez from the right, you would think he had just signed away half the country.
Pablo Casado, the leader of the conservative People’s Party, has accused the socialist of “high treason” and argued Spain now faces the gravest threat to its democracy since the failed military coup of 1981.
Albert Rivera of the liberal Citizens has called Sánchez “a danger for Spain”.
What horrible crime has Sánchez committed?
He has agreed to appoint a facilitator in talks with the separatist government in Catalonia. Read more
Last night, Prime Minister Theresa May’s Brexit deal was voted down by the British parliament in an historic defeat.
This came even after she delayed the vote, which was meant to take place in December, to try to shore up support for the agreement.
The three largest opposition parties — Labour, the Scottish Nationalists and the Liberal Democrats — voted against the deal. So did the junior governing party, the Democratic Unionist Party of Northern Ireland (DUP), along with 118 of May’s own Conservatives.
In all, the treaty, which is meant to regulate Britain’s withdrawal from the EU, was rejected by 432 to 202 votes. Read more