Rutte Finds Center-Right Majority in Upper Chamber

Dutch prime minister Mark Rutte listens to a debate in the European Parliament in Strasbourg, January 20, 2016
Dutch prime minister Mark Rutte listens to a debate in the European Parliament in Strasbourg, January 20, 2016 (European Parliament)

A split on the Dutch far right has given Prime Minister Mark Rutte an alternative to deals with left-wing opposition parties in the upper house of parliament.

The four ruling center-right parties lost their majority in the Senate in May, going down from 38 to 32 out of 75 seats. It looked like they would need the opposition Labor Party and Greens for a majority, who were happy to exchange their support for more left-wing policies.

But this week, the government was able to pass environmental legislation with eight votes from the right, including three defectors from the far-right Forum for Democracy. Read more “Rutte Finds Center-Right Majority in Upper Chamber”

Dutch Parties Haven’t Lost Popularity in Pollution Crisis

Mark Rutte
Dutch prime minister Mark Rutte makes a speech in parliament in The Hague, November 13, 2012 (Rijksoverheid)

Dutch prime minister Mark Rutte appears to be weathering what he describes as the worst political crisis of his nine years in power.

Rutte’s four-party government has seen protests by builders and farmers against far-reaching plans to reduce nitrogen oxide pollution.

Now motorists are angry too. To cut emissions, the coalition has agreed to lower the daytime speed limit on Dutch highways from 130 to 100 kilometers per hour. The measure is hugely unpopular in Rutte’s car-friendly liberal party.

Yet it remains faraway the largest in the polls and hasn’t lost support since the pollution crisis began. Read more “Dutch Parties Haven’t Lost Popularity in Pollution Crisis”

Happy Little Country

View of the Netherlands from the air
View of the Netherlands from the air (Skitterphoto)

The Dutch are happier than ever. Austerity is over. The immigration crisis has receded from the headlines. The government this week announced €3 billion in tax cuts and is planning a long-term investment fund worth up to €50 billion. Support for anti-establishment parties is down. Just 16 percent want to leave the EU anymore. Read more “Happy Little Country”

Dutch Ruling Parties Negotiate Two Extra Senate Seats

Mark Rutte
Dutch prime minister Mark Rutte makes a speech in the European Parliament in Strasbourg, June 13, 2018 (European Parliament/Genevieve Engel)

The ruling parties in the Netherlands have managed to win an extra two seats in the Senate, giving them more room for negotiation with opposition parties.

The projection was that the four parties in Prime Minister Mark Rutte’s coalition win would thirty out of 75 seats in the upper chamber, which would have made them dependent on the Greens to pass legislation.

Now that they have 32, they can also do deals with the Labor Party, which has six. Read more “Dutch Ruling Parties Negotiate Two Extra Senate Seats”

Dutch Voters Punish Euroskeptics, Give Labor Victory

Flag of the Netherlands
Flag of the Netherlands (Pixabay/Ben Kerckx)

Dutch voters punished Euroskeptic parties of the left and right on Thursday, according to unofficial election results and an exit poll.

The far-right Freedom Party, led by Geert Wilders, and the far-left Socialists would struggle to retain their seats in the European Parliament. The former currently has four, the latter two.

An exit poll conducted by Ipsos gives the two parties one seat each. But voting results from 732 of 9340 polling places suggest neither might qualify at all. The exit poll has a one-seat margin of error.

The official result is not announced until Sunday night, when all the EU’s 28 member states will have voted. But Dutch law requires individual polling places to read out their results on election night. Volunteers for the populist blog GeenStijl tallied the results, which were then analyzed by Ipsos’ competitor, Peil.nl. Read more “Dutch Voters Punish Euroskeptics, Give Labor Victory”

Horse-Trading Could Change Balance of Power in Dutch Senate

Dutch senators debate legislation in The Hague
Dutch senators debate legislation in The Hague (ANP)

A week ago, it looked like the ruling parties in the Netherlands had managed to contain their losses in midterm elections.

Although three of the four parties that share power lost support, and the far right posted its best result to date, the government was not expected to become completely dependent on any one opposition party in the Senate.

Now it might after all. Read more “Horse-Trading Could Change Balance of Power in Dutch Senate”

Far Right Fills Gaps Left by Merkel and Rutte

German chancellor Angela Merkel receives Dutch prime minister Mark Rutte in Berlin, May 16
German chancellor Angela Merkel receives Dutch prime minister Mark Rutte in Berlin, May 16 (Bundesregierung)

Mark Rutte has suffered the same fate as his closest ally in Europe, Angela Merkel. Both center-right leaders moved to the middle in a bid for centrist voters only to leave a gap on the right that the far right has filled.

In midterm elections on Wednesday, the Dutch Freedom Party and Forum for Democracy won a combined 21 percent of the votes, their best result to date.

In Germany, support for the Alternative is down a few points in the polls but still at 11-14 percent. Merkel’s Christian Democrats fell from 41.5 to 33 percent between the 2013 and 2017 elections. Read more “Far Right Fills Gaps Left by Merkel and Rutte”

Rutte Loses Senate Majority, Gains for Dutch Far Right

Aerial view of Dutch government offices and parliament buildings in The Hague
Aerial view of Dutch government offices and parliament buildings in The Hague (Tweede Kamer)
  • Dutch voters elected provincial deputies on Wednesday, who will elect a new Senate in May.
  • The four parties in Prime Minister Mark Rutte’s ruling coalition are projected to lose their majority in the upper chamber.
  • Far-right partied posted their best result to date, taking 21 percent of the votes. Read more “Rutte Loses Senate Majority, Gains for Dutch Far Right”

Rutte Claims Center in Dutch Midterm Elections

Dutch prime minister Mark Rutte joins a debate in the European Parliament in Strasbourg, January 20, 2016
Dutch prime minister Mark Rutte joins a debate in the European Parliament in Strasbourg, January 20, 2016 (European Parliament)

Two years ago, the Netherlands’ center-right prime minister, Mark Rutte, defeated the far right by adopting some of its policies on immigration while rejecting its divisive rhetoric.

In the run-up to this year’s provincial and Senate elections, he is claiming the center ground instead. Read more “Rutte Claims Center in Dutch Midterm Elections”

Small EU Countries Resist Franco-German Push for Protectionism

French president Emmanuel Macron speaks with Dutch prime minister Mark Rutte during a European Council meeting in Brussels, June 24, 2018
French president Emmanuel Macron speaks with Dutch prime minister Mark Rutte during a European Council meeting in Brussels, June 24, 2018 (Elysée)

Since the European Commission blocked a landmark merger of the French and German train manufacturers Alstom and Siemens, France and Germany have come out in favor of a “genuine European industrial policy” to compete with China and the United States.

Smaller countries, led by the Netherlands and Poland, are wary. Read more “Small EU Countries Resist Franco-German Push for Protectionism”