23 November 2023
Yesterday the Dutch people voted in a special national election which was only held because the previous government of former prime minister Mark Rutte prematurely collapsed in July when the governing coalition partners failed to come to an agreement on immigration policy.
The right-wing, anti-immigration Party for Freedom led by Geert Wilders scored a decisive victory in the election, with 37 seats in the national assembly, followed by the left-wing Labour Party-GreenLeft Alliance with 25 seats. The People’s Party for Freedom and Democracy and the New Social Contract, both centrist parties, achieved 24 and 20 seats respectively. All in all, centrist and leftist parties managed to get 99 of the 150 seats in parliament, with the right collecting 51. Apart from the Party for Freedom’s 37 seats, the agrarian Farmer’s Party got 7 seats, the nationalist Forum for Democracy 3 seats, the theonomic Reformed Political Party 3 seats, with 1 seat going to the small right-wing party called JA-21.
The best chance for an actual right-wing government would be a coalition led by the anti-immigration Party for Freedom (37) along with one of the centrist parties, which would give the coalition between 57 and 61 of the 78 seats required to form a government. Of the at least 17 seats it would then still require, 14 could be made up by the agrarians, theonomists, and nationalists. The problem is that even with one major centrist coalition partner, such a coalition would then still require 3 seats from a leftist party in order to form a government, and it remains highly unlikely that any of the leftist parties would be willing to enter a right-wing coalition that includes the nationalists and theonomists.
As such, there are really only two realistic options at this stage: a) a coalition between the right-wing populist Party for Freedom with 37 seats and two Centrist Parties with 44 seats between them, which would effectively amount to another liberal government, or b) a centre-left coalition between Labour/GreenLeft (25 seats), the People’s Party for Freedom and Democracy (24 seats), the New Social Contract (20 seats), and the far-left D66 (9 seats).