Wilders party goes from nine to 24 seats

(Note: this entry was posted at 5:36 p.m. Eastern time. At 5:56 p.m. it was already showing up at Google when I searched VFR for ” wilders pvv polls “.)

The Netherlands shifts to the right
Published: 10 June 2010 [no link or citation]

The right-wing liberal VVD and populist PVV were the big winners of Wednesday’s parliamentary election in the Netherlands. Prime minister Jan Peter Balkenende was ousted after eight years in power.

After a neck-and-neck contest with the Labour party, the VVD emerged victorious, garnering 31 of 150 seats in parliament, with 98 percent of the votes counted. “It looks like, for the first time in history, the VVD will be the biggest party in the Netherlands,” VVD leader Mark Rutte told supporters Thursday morning, when preliminary results showed Labour would be left with 30 seats. The right-wing liberals may have shaken the social democrats, led by former Amsterdam mayor Job Cohen, but never has the biggest party in parliament occupied so few seats, and never was the margin seperating it from the runner-up so slim.

Geert Wilders’ PVV won the most in the election. Wilders, who is internationally known for his unequivocal criticism of Islam, went from 9 to 24 seats in parliament. While he ran a muted campaign and polls predicted he would barely double his seats, Wilders proved especially popular in the south-east of the country. His growing following there is part of the reason the Christian democratic party of incumbent prime minister Jan Peter Balkenende was halved at the polls. The CDA lost 20 of its 41 seats and will now be the fourth party in Dutch parliament.

The devastating result for the CDA who have led the country for all but eight of the last 30 years, forced prime minister Balkenende to step down as his party’s leader. After the voters had “sent a clear message,” Balkenende said, resigning was “part of his political responsibility”. Never since the Second World War have Dutch voters punished an incumbent prime minister quite so hard.

Look left or right?

The power shifts and slim margins show the Dutch electorate is more fractured than ever. Left-wing liberal D66 moved up from 3 to 10 seats, while green party GroenLinks grew from 7 to 10. The Socialist Party lost 10 of its 25 seats and the ChristenUnie, the orthodox Christian party that was the minority partner in the CDA-Labour coalition that fell in February, went from 6 to 5. Fundamentalist Christian party SGP and the Party for Animals both retained two seats. Turnout was low, at 74 percent.

Posted by Lawrence Auster at June 10, 2010 05:36 PM | Send

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