Now the Dutch election is over and the counting just about finished and the oily bouffant, Geert Wilders, only gained 20 seats of the 32 he had hoped to win for his far right Party for Freedom (PVV). Instead, his hoped-for voters seem to have gone for the centre-right Christian Democratic Appeal (CDA) and centre-left Democrats 66 (D66), with each of them taking a similar number of seats (19 each) as Wilders’ PVV1.
The Labour Party’s support has nosedived, and it will only have 9 seats, but the Green Left Party will likely have 14 seats, as will the Socialist Party. The big winner is the People’s Party for Freedom and Democracy (VVD), led by the current Prime Minister, Mark Rutte, which will take 33 seats, and by some distance will be the largest party in the parliament1.
To form government, the VVD will have to go into coalition with at least three other parties to obtain a majority of the 150 seats. This is sometimes not easy, and in 2012 it took almost two months to hammer out a coalition, and that was between only two parties2.
Rutte has said that he would not even consider working with Wilders and will look toward other pro-European Union parties such as CDA and D66. After that it is anyone’s guess who will be the likely other coalition partners2.
Many commentators seem to think that Wilders’ poor showing was in part due to his refusing to take part in televised debates, seemingly because of scathing comments made about him by his brother, and because much of the commentary he offered was to foreign rather than local journalists. Rutte’s standing up to the Turkish despot Erdogan was also seen as a positive2.
However, I believe that one of the major factors in Wilders’ disappointing result was the Trump Effect. People have seen what depredations a far right buffoon can do when given more power than a toddler should have, and it made many of them choose safety rather than stupidity.