Geert Wilders’ strategy of not showing up isn’t doing his Freedom Party much good.
Support for the party, which wants to take the Netherlands out of the European Union and stop immigration from Muslim countries, has gone down in the polls from a 21-percent high in December to 16 percent today.
Prime Minister Mark Rutte’s liberals are on track to surpass the Freedom Party as the single largest. In some surveys, they already have.
The reason even right-wing parties in the Netherlands have ruled out forming a government with the nativist Freedom Party after the election next month is that they tried to make it work before — and failed.
Polls suggest the anti-EU and anti-immigrant party led by Geert Wilders could become the single largest with around 20 percent support. But it’s unlikely to come to power.
Prime Minister Mark Rutte, whose liberal party is polling in second place, has said there is “zero” chance he will do another deal with Wilders after the Freedom Party leader walked out the last time they worked together.
There may be a lesson here for Republicans in the United States, who think they can co-opt Donald Trump, and Conservatives in Britain, who think they might harness the nationalist passions unleashed by Brexit. The Dutch experience suggests attempts to co-opt populism are unlikely to last and can easily backfire. Read more “Dutch Parties Tried to Co-opt Populists and Failed”
Italy’s Euroskeptic Five Star Movement is leaving Nigel Farage’s group in the European Parliament and applying to join the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats (ALDE) instead, Beppe Grillo announced on Monday.
In a vaguely-worded blog post, the former comedian and Five Star Movement leader argues that by joining the liberal bloc, “we think we can deal with more concentration both, you and us, the next challenges.”
Brexit’s erosive effect on British democracy continues.
Consider this recent story in The Telegraph, which takes the entire civil service to task for refusing to make Britain’s exit from the European Union a success.
The reality is that Britain’s civil servants are among the world’s most capable and that leaving the EU is going to be painful. There is no way to make Brexit a “success” by any objective measure.
As recently as a few months ago, serious Brexiteers recognized as much. They admitted that leaving the EU would have a negative effect on the economy, at least in the short term. But, they argued, independence from Brussels would make up for it in spirit.
Politico reports that a long-simmering dispute between the two most prominent women of the French far right is getting out of hand.
There is even a risk of a split in the Front national, the website argues: between the faction of leader Marine Le Pen and the socially conservative wing that has rallied around her 26 year-old niece, Marion Maréchal-Le Pen.
The fact that it’s a family feud, in which the Le Pen patriarch and Vichy apologist Jean-Marie inevitably resurfaces, makes this a headline-grabbing story.
Donald Trump’s unexpected presidential election in the United States has delighted his ideological counterparts in Europe. Brexiteers in the United Kingdom think he will give them a better deal than Hillary Clinton. Populists in France and the Netherlands have responded to Trump’s victory with glee. So have ultraconservatives in Central Europe.
Tom-Jan Meeus has a good piece in Politico about the state of Dutch politics five months out from the next election.
Meeus, who is a political columnist and former United States correspondent for NRC Handelsblad, argues that there is a American influence on this election: Should Donald Trump win in November, Meeus expects his Dutch counterpart, Geert Wilders, will shift further to the right. Mark Rutte, the incumbent center-right prime minister, could benefit if Hillary Clinton prevails.