Populism not as rejected as previously thought

Anyone remember the election in The Netherlands last March, after which we were told the Dutch people rejected “the wrong kind of populism”? Here’s what I said afterwards:

For sure, Geert Wilders didn’t win outright, and nor did his Freedom Party even come close to doing so, but they came second with a seat count of 20 up from 15, which is an increase of a third. The mistake I think people like Hollande and Merkel, and possibly even Rutte, are making is believing the policies of the Freedom Party have been overwhelmingly rejected and can safely be ignored from hereon.

Well, whaddya know?

Negotiations to form the next Dutch government have collapsed as the four parties involved were unable to decide what to do about migration.

Prime Minister Mark Rutte’s centre-right VVD party had sought to strike a deal with the liberal D66, the Christian Democrats and the Green-Left.

The talks had been ongoing for 61 days since an election in March.

The Green-Left support open borders, while the other three want stricter controls.

That would be the Green-Left who came 5th in the election and who secured some percentage of their votes because their leader, Jesse Klaver, is good looking. Therein lies the problem of coalition governments, the lunatics on the fringe get to play kingmaker.

The minister who had been tasked with forming the new government will submit a report to parliament before the members discuss how to proceed.

Geert Wilders, the leader of the anti-EU, anti-Islam Freedom Party, welcomed the news, saying he was ready to talk.

His party came second in the polls.

Angela Merkel was unavailable for comment, possibly because Macron won’t let her out of his sight.

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4 thoughts on “Populism not as rejected as previously thought

  1. And can’t negotiate. Or think more than 3 minutes into the future. Klaver can compromise or force a new election in which Wilders might do even better. I think you’re right that he doesn’t even consider Wilders doing better a possibility. Wilders is too toxic for anyone to form a coalition with, but his party is now large enough to be the permanent king-killer.

  2. I suspect Rutte will have to go down to the minor parties and try and sign up, say, the CU although that’s not going to go down well with D66 who are, IIRC, very secular and the CU aren’t.

  3. Good old BBC. Note how scrupulously fair it is in not attempting to prejudice one’s views of the various parties.

    “the centre-right VVD party”

    “the liberal D66” (misuse of liberal, probably, but never mind)
    “the Christian Democrats”
    “the Green-Left”

    “the anti-EU, anti-Islam Freedom Party”

  4. And if ‘populist’ Le Pen does well in the French Parliamentary election, Macron’s En Marche (soi-disant) Party which currently has no seats, no established popular base or infrastructure may find itself similarly adrift to Mark Rutte’s V V D Party.

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