Dutch Elections: ‘Trendsetters’ of This Years’ European Elections

April 17, PRAGUE—On March 14, the first EU elections took place in the Netherlands, the Dutch are the first of all the surrounding countries, which will have their upcoming elections soon.

There are several big political parties in the Netherlands and most of the time the People’s Party for Freedom and Democracy wins the elections, due to a big part of the society which agrees with the party’s points of view on many situations or issues. The People’s Party for Freedom and Democracy (VVD) has won 33 seats, followed by the Party for Freedom, which ended up with 20 seats. This extreme right wing party is ruled by Geert Wilders, who has been in the international media recently as he is striving to maintain nationalism in a very severe way. One of the most famous “low points” was that he made a strongly racist comment towards Moroccans one year ago.

The People’s Party for Freedom and Democracy focuses primarily on more safety and freedom in the country. The People’s Party values the police, their work, and the tasks they do. They would like to invest in this sector, whereas the Party for Freedom (PPV) would rather invest even more in the police than the VVD.

Both parties are focusing on the migration policy. Especially the Party for Freedom which stands for maintenance in nationalism; therefore, they are standing for the ‘elimination’ of Islam. One of the viewpoints of this party, for the elections, is that every Islamic school and mosque should be closed down, and women will not be allowed to wear a hijab in public areas. For that reason, the Party for Freedom has received a lot of criticism, due to the fact that there are still a lot of Dutch citizens who are Muslim and do not accept this extreme way of provoking this religion.

At the moment, there is a political formation going on. The parties who are involved now are the VVD, the PPV, the Christian Democratic Appeal (CDA), the Democrats ’66 (D66), and the GreenLeft party (‘GroenLinks’ in Dutch), a left-wing party.

Surprisingly, at the end of March, it was announced that the Party for Freedom is not involved in the process of formation anymore, as the other parties mentioned that they do not want to cooperate with this party because of Wilders’ extreme statements about Islam, for instance. Besides that, they find him suspicious, as he used to walk away from confidential meetings.

Usually, after the elections, the formation begins in the House of Representatives. A veteran politician is assigned to form the best coalition. He or she meets and discusses it with the party leaders. Once it is set and the draft stage has been accomplished, it is up to the veteran politician (‘informateur’ in Dutch) to write the final report and choose a suitable politician who will actually form the new government (‘formateur’ in Dutch), this person will most likely become the Prime Minister as well.

The veteran politician will search for the ministers and their state secretaries. They all meet up together officially and pledge to the coalition agreement. The veteran politician will usually be from the biggest party of the coalition. The duration of the forming of the government can take up to weeks, or even months. In the past, the King (formerly a Queen) had a role in the official formation of a new government. This role has been decreased before the Queen would assign a veteran politician. Together with the King, the ministers form the government.

Christian Democratic Appeal ended up with 19 seats, Democrats 66 the same, GreenLeft party with 14. For Dutch citizens, it may affect the future in some way, due to many refugees coming and some might also have to face the fact that the ‘real identity’ of the Netherlands is fading. Some citizens are quite satisfied that the Party for Freedom is not in the formation process.

In my opinion, as a Dutch citizen, I can say that I am quite satisfied with the parties who were selected for the coalition so far. I believe that Democrats ’66 have a great potential to cooperate with the VVD. I am a big fan of the Democrats ’66 party, they invest a lot in education as it is one of their viewpoints.

I believe the formation process is a very intensive task to do as a veteran politician. I do like the fact that the former role of the head of state was much more involved in the formation process because it is more official. I really like to follow the national elections, it brings me back to the feeling that there is a social cohesion.

Written by Selina Nikijuluw.