Socialist Worker

Dutch elections signal scary shift to the right

by Ewout van den Berg
Issue No. 2747

Polling station in Utrecht, Netherlands

Polling station in Utrecht, Netherlands (Pic: Sebastiaan ter Burg/Flickr)


For the fourth time, the conservative People’s Party for Freedom and Democracy has won the national election in Holland. 

This time it gained 35 seats out of 150.

The neoliberal, but socially progressive, “Democrats 66” came second 23 seats while the Christian Democratic Appeal won 17 seats. The three parties, which have been coalition, will only need a smaller party to keep on governing together.

The left imploded, but only has itself to blame. The Greens, which helped the People’s Party win votes in the Senate, saw its seats decline.

The Labour Party wasn’t able to recover after taking part in a previous coalition government led by the People’s Party. During that period, it was responsible for implementing a heavy tax on social housing.

The Socialist Party, at one point the largest radical left party in a European parliament, saw its seats decrease to nine.

The party didn’t prop up previous governments, but its campaign showed itself desperate to get a seat at the top table. Young members kicked back, but the party expelled leading members and cut ties with its youth wing.

Far right parties won more seats in parliament than ever before.

One out of five voters backed a far right party.

Geert Wilders’ Freedom Party will probably remain the largest party in opposition.

Echoing the calls for “dejewification” in the 1930s, it campaigned for a “ministry of de-islamisation”.

JA21, a split off from the fascist Forum for Democracy, got four seats. The pandemic has caused a crisis for the party, because of its leader Thierry Baudet’s Covid-denial This led to a split, but Baudet was able to rebuild on a clearer fascist platform. He has given known antisemites and Nazi sympathisers high places in the party.

The Forum for Democracy increased its seats fourfold, from two to eight, and built a campaign around street mobilisations. They were able to mobilise hundreds of their supporters in every city they visited.

No major group dared to break up the far right street mobilisations, which made a point of not following coronavirus restrictions. More and more, this far right presence will become a physical threat to the left.

One of the 17 parties that entered parliament is the anti-racist BIJ1. This is very welcome and an expression of the anti-racist movement. 

Only a principled opposition from the left and a focus on building the movements can prevent the far right from growing further when the government imposes more austerity.


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