A farmers’ party has stunned Dutch politics, and is set to be the biggest party in the upper house of parliament after provincial elections.
The Farmer-citizen movement (BBB) was only set up in 2019 in the wake of widespread farmers’ protests.
But with most votes counted they are due to win 15 of the Senate’s seats with almost 20% of the vote.
“This isn’t normal, but actually it is! It’s all normal citizens who voted,” said leader Caroline van der Plas.
The BBB aims to fight government plans to slash nitrogen emissions harmful to biodiversity by dramatically reducing livestock numbers and buying out thousands of farms.
But its appeal has spread rapidly beyond its rural heartland, on a populist platform that represents traditional, conservative Dutch social and moral values.
Shocked by the scale of their success, Ms van der Plas told supporters that voters normally stayed at home if they lost faith in politics: “But today people have shown they can’t stay at home any longer. We won’t be ignored any more.”
The tagline for the BBC article claims that the Farmer-Citizen Movement party (BBB) is set to “be the biggest party in the upper house of parliament after provincial elections” after winning 20 seats. Later on in the piece they say the following.
A left-wing Green-Labour alliance is also on course to win 15 Senate seats, while Prime Minister Mark Rutte’s four-party coalition is poised to fall back to 24 – down eight seats.
After a cursory reading my understanding is the the Dutch federal system is complicated. I can’t get a bead on the difference between the Upper and Lower house of parliament, but this is undoubtedly good news for their party.
The Farmer–Citizen Movement was founded in October 2019 by an agricultural marketing agency and agricultural journalist Caroline van der Plas, in response to the widespread farmers protests that had taken place earlier that month.On 17 October 2020, Van der Plas was unanimously chosen as the party’s lijsttrekker. It won one seat at the 2021 general election.
Despite the party only starting two years ago, the party has become favorite to win 15 seats in the upcoming 2023 Dutch Senate election.
From no seats to one in two years. From one seat to twenty just two years later.
That is very impressive, and it shows what I’ve always said. Once you win that first seat voters start looking to you as a serious political party that isn’t just a waste of a vote. In a first past the post system things can flip extremely fast.
3 Mark Rutte is a ‘happy single’. When asked about the conspicuous absence of a significant other in his life, the prime minister says he might have ‘a wife and kids’ one day. But not just yet. ‘The most important thing to ask is “am I happy with how I live at the moment?” And I am,’ he says.
Mark Rutte is the “serving” Prime Minister of the Netherlands, and has been since 2010. He’s also an unmarried 56 year old man and a conservative, make of that what you will. His “leadership” saw the country experience some more than spicy farmers protests last year, including a farmer getting shot at by the police, due to his insane anti-farmer legislation.
Turnout in Wednesday’s vote, estimated at 57.5%, was the highest for years and the biggest loser of the night was the far-right Forum for Democracy party.
Forum for Democracy (Dutch: Forum voor Democratie, FVD) is a right-wing populist Eurosceptic political party in the Netherlands that was founded as a think tank by Thierry Baudet and Henk Otten in 2016. The party first participated in elections in the 2017 general election, winning two seats in the House of Representatives. In the 2019 provincial elections, it won the most seats out of any party, although 61 out of 86 representatives have since defected.
At the time of its conception the FVD was considered a conservative liberal and a eurosceptic movement positioned on the right-wing of the political spectrum, but after several founding members split from the party it has been described as adopting more radical policies and messages.
Sounds like Nigel Farage-tier fake populism to me. Apparently they had some “racism” controversies, but are big with the Covid-19 stuff. Looks like they’re the typical alt-lite useless types and people got sick of them. Any Dutch readers feel free to correct me on this.
Back to the BBC.
For rural voters, the main incentive for backing the BBB was to protest against cuts in nitrogen emissions, according to an Ipsos poll for public broadcaster NOS.
Commentator Ben Coates described the result as “something of an earthquake in Dutch politics”.
Although their policies are very much focused on opposing the government’s environmental policies, he told the BBC most people would characterise them as a right-wing, populist party that was quite anti-EU, anti-immigration and in favour of banning burkas for Muslims.
She had to step back from public campaigning last year because of death threats. She was told the same fate awaited her as Pim Fortuyn, a populist leader assassinated days before the 2002 Dutch general election.
If you aren’t getting death threats, you aren’t serious.
Does this promise serious change? I can’t say for sure. But the Dutch Farmers Movement shows how fast things can change when you have mass discontentment and an vehicle to channel that into electoral victory.