April 19. 2024. 8:30

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Dutch regional elections send shockwaves


The 15 March regional elections in the Netherlands showed a historic success of the self-declared agrarian interest party BoerBurgerBeweging (BBB), a relatively young party founded in 2019.

The Ipsos exit poll for the rural Overijssel region shows that the party won 31% – well ahead of the centre-right CDA (EPP Group in the EU Parliament), which came in second and won 9% in the region. The party also came first in more urban regions with almost 20%.

The party, which initially had gained traction by rallying against nitrogen reduction laws, gained many voters who voted for different right-of-centre and protest parties in the previous election of 2019.

These elections are also crucial because the regional legislatures elect the Dutch Senate.

On election night, Ipsos projected for the public broadcaster NOS that BBB would likely become the largest single party in the upper chamber of the national parliament with 15 seats. Currently, BBB has no seats in the Senate.

The left-of-centre PvdA/GL (S&D, Greens/EFA) alliance would also get 15 seats as per the exit poll, one more than in 2019.

The election is a setback for the incumbent Prime Minister and European Council member Mark Rutte. While his government only had a minority in the Senate before, this minority is now even smaller.

Rutte’s liberal VVD (Renew Europe) is projected to decline from 12 to 10 seats; the liberal D66 (Renew Europe) is projected to lose one seat, decreasing to 6. The Christan Union (EPP) is set to slip from 4 to 3 seats.

The most considerable losses within the government, however, were suffered by the Christian Democrats (CDA, EPP), projected to drop from 9 to only five seats in the Senate.

The far-right FvD (Non-Inscrits) lost ten seats, dropping to only 2.

The Eurofederalist Volt party is set to enter the Senate for the first time with two seats; the national-conservative JA21 (ECR) is projected to have three seats.

The right-wing PVV of Geert Wilders is set to slip from 5 to 4 seats; the left-wing SP is set to fall from 4 to 3 seats; the Animal Welfare Party (Left Group) is set to jump from three to four seats; the centre-right 50PLUS (EPP) party is set to drop from 2 to 1 seat; and the Christan fundamentalist SGP (ECR) is set to drop from 2 to 1 seat. The regionalist OPNL is projected to win again one seat.