Geert Wilders Will Not Be The Next Dutch Prime Minister

At the risk of being proven depressingly wrong in mid-March, I don’t believe that Geert Wilders will be the next Dutch Prime Minister. The reason I think this is because of the polling data, the structure of the Dutch electoral system, and the political culture of the Netherlands. Despite this prediction, there can be no room for complacency on the part of those of us who argue against authoritarians like Wilders. All political parties must come together to oppose his racist populism and defeat them in the ballot box. Electoral success will give the voices of opposition a platform that are needed to stem the rise of reactionary right-wing policies.

Opinion polls have had a bad rap recently with Brexit and the whole Trump situation, however I don’t think that a few strange results should mean that we ignore polls from here on out. In the most recent seat projections the PVV, Wilders’ party, has shown to be a sizable distance from monopolising the policy-making process. If we look at the mean of all eight polls from December, Wilders’ party is predicted to win approximately 34 seats. Although this would make the PVV the largest single party, the average of the same polls would put the parties currently governing the Netherlands at around 36 (VVD on 25 and PvdA on 11). In order to have a majority in the House of Representatives a party needs to win 76 seats.
I’m not saying that the current purple government will win re-election or that these two parties would elect to go into coalition with each other again, but it does show that the prospect of an outright PVV government in infinitesimally small. If I was a gambling man I would think that a three-way centre/centre-right coalition between the VVD, D66, and the CDA would be the next Dutch government, but only if current polling holds.
The second aspect is something that I have alluded to in my analysis of the polls. Not only has the Netherlands got proportional representation, but they do not have any formal constituencies. All representatives are elected nationally and as such the proportion of the vote is mirrored in the proportion of seats awarded to each party. To use the average polling information from above once again, the PVV couldn’t govern without the support of other political parties. He cannot become Prime Minister after winning only 34 seats. Even if his party was the largest and he became Prime Minister in an official capacity, his government would handily lose a vote of no confidence as that is something that the remaining  of representatives would agree on.
geert wilders AP.jpg
Although it’s unlikely that this neo-fascist will win, 2016 has taught to never say never. (AP)
But the electoral arithmetic is only one side of the coin; the other is the political culture of the Netherlands. Wilders is a politically divisive figure that is thoroughly disliked by a very large proportion of the Dutch electorate. Further, his party has been accused of being openly bigoted against Muslims, and those accusations are incredibly true. Any brief look at the party’s policies illustrates how hostile the party is toward the Islamic faith and as such any suggestion of coalitions with PVV is politically toxic.
Irrespective of what polling says now, the Left needs to co-opt the issues most important to PVV voters to bring them away from such a horrifying policy platform. The Socialist Party have already begun doing this by trying to appeal voters by pledging to remove private sector involvement in the Dutch healthcare system. Other parties of the Left need to speak to people’s concerns about terrorism, migration, housing, the economy, and so on and put forward bold left-wing solutions that have been marginalised for a number of years. Investing in new technical infrastructure, for example, would create a number of new jobs across the country and would increase the economic and energy efficiency of public transportation.
We live in a time where nuance is rejected in favour of sound-bite solutions. Not only must the Left address people’s concerns, we need to have a grassroots movement built to allow left-wing solutions to be given a proper hearing. If the mainstream press continues looking for headlines and we need to be able to convey our message but that doesn’t capitulating and reinforcing the poisonous discourse of recent months.
The Netherlands has a excellent reputation around the world as being open and tolerant of all people, and I sincerely hope that reputation is justified and that the PVV do not do as well as the polls are predicting. However even if the polls are correct I believe that the optics of Dutch society are such that Wilders will not be the next Prime Minister. However, if 2016 has taught s anything it is that complacency can set in. My prediction shouldn’t be cause for comfort but a goal to aim for. 
Regardless of whether or not Wilders will be the next head of government, the Left needs to get its act together. The Left needs to be the one talking about people’s everyday concerns whilst steering the discourse away from Wilders’ disgusting rhetoric. Creating jobs, investing in public services, and defending the country’s principle of ethnic and cultural pluralism must be at the forefront of this election. Wilders will portray himself as the person who will take the Netherlands back to ‘the good old days’ but there must be a united Left correctly labeling him as what he is: a threat to the country’s future.
Advertisements

4 thoughts on “Geert Wilders Will Not Be The Next Dutch Prime Minister

  1. It is the (disgusting) left wing political correctness bullshit that has presented to Geert Wilders the opportunity of becoming the leader of the biggest party in the Dutch parliament. If he gets 34 seats it will mean that a significant number (around 25%) of the Dutch population is also gatvol for always having to pander to the bleeding hearts. If people like yourself stopped making excuses for barbaric behaviour by many Muslims and their refusal to become assimilated, Wilders would not have had any chance at all.

    You claim that “Other parties of the Left need to speak to people’s concerns about terrorism, migration, housing, the economy, and so on and put forward bold left-wing solutions that have been marginalised for a number of years.” Wow! It is the lefties that caused the mess. How on earth can they solve it? Just who has “marginilased” these feft-wing so-called solutions?

    You talk about the left creating jobs. By importing thousands of migrants? Who allowed the hordes into the country? The right?

    I believe you are right, Wilders will not become premier – at least not yet – but he will significantly move the discussion to the right. The same will happen in France. After decades of left-wing politics, that may not be such a bad thing.

    Like

    • Thanks for taking the time to at least hear me out, which has become much less common among people who disagree.

      As I believer in democracy I agree that the seats Wilders’ party will reflect a genuine sentiment within the Netherlands so I don’t see why you felt the need to point that out. In terms of “people like myself” I dare to say that you haven’t read my work in much detail because I loathe religion in all it’s forms but have spoken out about Islamic fundamentalism on a number of different occasions (both in the context of Western countries and in the Middle East). In the future may I recommend criticising people for things they actually believe rather than things you think they might believe.

      Next, I would dispute your definition of ‘lefties’. Given that I am a communist I contend that people like myself have never been in power in the West. The people I suspect you are referring to are the liberal centrists who have proposed a supercharged version of neoliberal capitalism whist disregarding the concerns of ordinary people. The marginalised solution are talk about are concerned with radically transforming Western approaches to these issues rather than re-doing the status quo of the last thirty years. The point about jobs was that if jobs were created in Western countries, people were well educated, and were tolerant towards one another much of the social dislocation arising as a result of migration flows would be substantially lowered.

      Also on a side note, given that Marine Le Pen’s policies are outwardly authoritarian and disconcertingly nationalistic I think that a shift to the Right in France would be a bad thing.

      But again thanks for sharing your opinion.

      Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s