I blogged before about Geert Wilders and his now long forgotten film Fitna, and how he screwed it up big time. Now it’s not just mr. Wilders any more, it seems the Dutch electorate has screwed up, big time. Last Wednesday we had parliamentary elections. Here are the results.
VVD – 31 seats (from 22)
Liberals (in the classical sense) and neoliberals, generally regarded as right-of-middle. Favours leaving public interests to the market, shuns high taxes. Often termed a party for rich people. Their 2010 program promised the strongest cuts in public finance of all major parties.
PVV 24 seats (from 9)
Mr. Wilders party. Positions itself as an anti-Islam, anti-left, anti-establishment, anti-intellectual, anti-European Union and pro-Israel party. Mostly generates voters among those who’ve never seen a Muslim. Is downright left where it comes to social-economic viewpoints, but right when it comes to immigration and public safety.
D66 10 seats (from 3)
Nondescript, left-wing liberals (in the classical sense of the word). As a rule lose support when in government, gain support when in the opposition. Favour many innovations in politics like a chosen mayor and introducing elections by districts (as in the UK, where their closest counterpart heavily opposes the district system).
GL 10 seats (from 7)
Old-time left, termed ‘green left’ because they have always made much work of the environment
CDA – 21 seats (from 41)
Christian Democrats, generally regarded as a party that takes middle ground. Since 1918, apart from 1994-2002, they have always been in government. Skillfully run aground by our prime minister mr. Balkenende whose four successive cabinets all foundered before their time (2002-2010).
PvdA 30 seats (from 33)
Social democrats, officially, but mostly a bit left of the middle, workers party. Has been in government almost always.
SP 15 seats (from 25)
Old-time socialists with a modern and slightly populistic twist. Considered ‘left’, but have a position on immigration that resembles the right more. Rich, because members working for the party are required to hand over their salary. They get a standard fee in return.
CU 5 seats (from 6)
Traditional to fundamentalist Christians. Opposed to abortion, same-sex marriages and shopping on Sundays. Traditionally considered ‘right wing’, but their social-economic viewpoints tend to differ very little from those of the left-wing parties.
SGP 2 seats (from 2)
Fundamentalist Christians, notorious for their opposition to voting rights for women. Despite its fringe status, it has produced a few well respected members of parliament. Their social-economic viewpoints too tend to differ little from those of the left-wing parties.
PvdD 2 seats (from 2)
The animals party, big on animal rights.
As you can see, the political middle is vanishing. Never before have the major parties had so few seats. Never before has anyone so disruptive gained so much support among the Dutch populace. One coalition seems to be the major focus of negotiations now: VVD, PVV and CDA, with a minimum majority of exactly 76 seats. Another option is a coalition called ‘purple’ of VVD, PvdA, D66 and (e.g.) GL, but the major party leaders don’t see that as an option yet, even though it has a bigger majority (81) and no PVV in it.
Mr. Wilders has the honor of being the first screwup Dutch politician to break his promises. Before the elections he was strictly opposed to raising the retirement age from 65 to 67. It was considered non-negotiable. In less than 24 hours, even before any negotiations have started he has reneged on that.