Vic Lineal
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Today the Dutch general election takes place; a full parliamentary system where more than 10 parties currently have representation in the House of Representatives.

After a couple of years leading the pools, far-right populist Islamophobe Geert Wilders and his PVV party have dropped to a second position behind incumbent PM Mark Rutte (from the liberal VVD). However, the nature of the Dutch seat allocation system makes prior estimations of possible coalitions quite broad, as there are many possible combinations to reach a majority.

Dutch RSPers, I invoke you.
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viclineal wrote:
Today the Dutch general election takes place; a full parliamentary system where more than 10 parties currently have representation in the House of Representatives.

After a couple of years leading the pools, far-right populist Islamophobe Geert Wilders and his PVV party have dropped to a second position behind incumbent PM Mark Rutte (from the liberal VVD). However, the nature of the Dutch seat allocation system makes prior estimations of possible coalitions quite broad, as there are many possible combinations to reach a majority.

Dutch RSPers, I invoke you.

I am going to vot in half an hour, and then go on vacation and ignore all results for a week I don't have time to say much, but a few comments.

Firt of all I want to explain for our American posters here that when you say liberal, you mena classical/European liberal, not American liberal. These would be the conservatives in the USA.

For a long time the polls had the populist PVV winning in the polls, but last weekends Turkey crisis (which incredibly was completely ignored here) and the debates thelast few days, have made more people change to the VVD, which is now leading the polls. I am personally not a fan of VVD, but they're better then PVV.

As it is, I believe that VVD will win the elections, followed by PVV, however there are several parties that will be close behind. Neither party will get more then 26 seats think though.

I should explain here that in The Netherlands there are a lot of so-called 'floating' voters, people who do not know who they will vote for, often up until the day of the elections. With 35 parties to choose from, this is not a big surprise. This phenomenon makes it hard to get accurate polls.

Since to form a government requires a majority of 76 seats at least in our house of representatives, making a coalition will be difficult this year, since it will probably require at least 4 parties. All major parties have already said they will not cooperate with PVV, so they will not be in government.

My personal hope is more votes on the lft thn predicted and the possibility of forming a left coalition, but in reality I know that any coalition is most likely going to be led by the VVD.

I also expect the forming of a coalition to take longer then ever before.

These are just some quick personal thoughts on the elections. due to preparing my vacation, I don't have time for a thought out piece or to go over it again for style, and I probably won't be responding (though I might if I get bored in the airport)
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viclineal wrote:
Dutch RSPers, I invoke you.

I have done my duty! And made the right choice.

Yesterday I've seen the debates. The very last one of the more-or-less orthodox protestant Gert-Jan Segers against Wilders was impressive in favor of the first one.

Polls predict a second position for the PVV. I am still in the phase of denial. I cannot believe.

That the right-conservative VVD will be the winner is without question.

We'll have to wait till tonight.
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Some analysis in today's Washington Post by a Dutch (I assume from his name) writer, Sam van der Staak of the International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance (IDEA). Gist: "The Dutch election will be a vote for business as usual."

We'll see if he's right soon enough!
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mag74b wrote:
viclineal wrote:
Today the Dutch general election takes place; a full parliamentary system where more than 10 parties currently have representation in the House of Representatives.

After a couple of years leading the pools, far-right populist Islamophobe Geert Wilders and his PVV party have dropped to a second position behind incumbent PM Mark Rutte (from the liberal VVD). However, the nature of the Dutch seat allocation system makes prior estimations of possible coalitions quite broad, as there are many possible combinations to reach a majority.

Dutch RSPers, I invoke you.

I am going to vot in half an hour, and then go on vacation and ignore all results for a week I don't have time to say much, but a few comments.

Firt of all I want to explain for our American posters here that when you say liberal, you mena classical/European liberal, not American liberal. These would be the conservatives in the USA.

For a long time the polls had the populist PVV winning in the polls, but last weekends Turkey crisis (which incredibly was completely ignored here) and the debates thelast few days, have made more people change to the VVD, which is now leading the polls. I am personally not a fan of VVD, but they're better then PVV.

As it is, I believe that VVD will win the elections, followed by PVV, however there are several parties that will be close behind. Neither party will get more then 26 seats think though.

I should explain here that in The Netherlands there are a lot of so-called 'floating' voters, people who do not know who they will vote for, often up until the day of the elections. With 35 parties to choose from, this is not a big surprise. This phenomenon makes it hard to get accurate polls.

Since to form a government requires a majority of 76 seats at least in our house of representatives, making a coalition will be difficult this year, since it will probably require at least 4 parties. All major parties have already said they will not cooperate with PVV, so they will not be in government.

My personal hope is more votes on the lft thn predicted and the possibility of forming a left coalition, but in reality I know that any coalition is most likely going to be led by the VVD.

I also expect the forming of a coalition to take longer then ever before.

These are just some quick personal thoughts on the elections. due to preparing my vacation, I don't have time for a thought out piece or to go over it again for style, and I probably won't be responding (though I might if I get bored in the airport)


Maybe I'm naive, but I was hoping with everything that's going on the formation would be a bit quicker this time. Everyone knows a 4-party coalition is most likely, so making compromises is inevitable.

But let's see what tonight brings, I voted, so my duty is done
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J.D. Hall
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This is fascinating (and grossly under-reported in the US). Add in the fracas in France, and it might mean a major, major shift in Europe vis-à-vis the EU. The "two-party system" in the US left America vulnerable to a blowhard nationalist, but from what the posters above say, the multi-party system in The Netherlands makes it far less likely for a repeat of the America election there.

Surprised we heard little from our German posters concerning these elections.
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remorseless1 wrote:
This is fascinating (and grossly under-reported in the US). Add in the fracas in France, and it might mean a major, major shift in Europe vis-à-vis the EU. The "two-party system" in the US left America vulnerable to a blowhard nationalist, but from what the posters above say, the multi-party system in The Netherlands makes it far less likely for a repeat of the America election there.


Yep the proportional system means that the Dutch are always going to have a coalition. I don't think they have ever had one party as an outright winner since WW2. No-one is going to get into bed with Wilders so things aren't going to change too much in the Netherlands.

France too has previously managed to vote against the FN when it comes to the Presidential second-round. Also the French President is not as powerful as the US one so even if a populist gets voted as President it doesn't mean as much. For example, in the Assemblée Nationale (the main legislative body) the FN has 2 seats currently. You need 289 to govern effectively.

Quote:
Surprised we heard little from our German posters concerning these elections.


They are probably wondering about their elections in September which looks like it might be close. Still a long way to go but I think currently Martin Schulz's SPD (social democrats) just shading Angela Merkel's CDU however it seems it is likely to be a coalition there.
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remorseless1 wrote:
This is fascinating (and grossly under-reported in the US). Add in the fracas in France, and it might mean a major, major shift in Europe vis-à-vis the EU. The "two-party system" in the US left America vulnerable to a blowhard nationalist, but from what the posters above say, the multi-party system in The Netherlands makes it far less likely for a repeat of the America election there.

Surprised we heard little from our German posters concerning these elections.


NPR has talked about this what seems almost nonstop.
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brkmrtn wrote:
remorseless1 wrote:
This is fascinating (and grossly under-reported in the US). Add in the fracas in France, and it might mean a major, major shift in Europe vis-à-vis the EU. The "two-party system" in the US left America vulnerable to a blowhard nationalist, but from what the posters above say, the multi-party system in The Netherlands makes it far less likely for a repeat of the America election there.

Surprised we heard little from our German posters concerning these elections.


NPR has talked about this what seems almost nonstop.


Yes they have. And I listen to NPR. But honestly, NPR is almost a boutique media outlet -- very stratified listening audience. The real mass media outlets -- CBS, NBC, ABC, FOX, CNN -- have been ignoring this story in the main. Certain newspaper have done work on this story, like the NYTimes, Washington Post, and others, but those too are more regional.
 
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andyl wrote:
Yep the proportional system means that the Dutch are always going to have a coalition. I don't think they have ever had one party as an outright winner since WW2. No-one is going to get into bed with Wilders so things aren't going to change too much in the Netherlands.


Bolded part is the important part - and honestly, I think Wilders wants it that way. MUCH easier being the person on the sidelines lobbing grenades. He will try and repeat the cycle a couple more times - ultimately aiming for something approaching the 26 seats needed for full control.
 
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Utrecht wrote:
andyl wrote:
Yep the proportional system means that the Dutch are always going to have a coalition. I don't think they have ever had one party as an outright winner since WW2. No-one is going to get into bed with Wilders so things aren't going to change too much in the Netherlands.


Bolded part is the important part - and honestly, I think Wilders wants it that way. MUCH easier being the person on the sidelines lobbing grenades. He will try and repeat the cycle a couple more times - ultimately aiming for something approaching the 26 seats needed for full control.

True!

Nor him nor his vassals are capable for government. And if the leader falls away his vassals will turn into a fight club. We've seen that here before in 2002. It had a great entertainment value, but this country needs to be governed too. And that is serious business.

I remember a headline of one of the previous elections .... The voter is a sadist. And our politicians have to dance.

I believe the voter could benefit from some extra education. Most of them do not have a proper understanding of our political system. Besides they behave like consumers and not civilians. In the past you are part of a pillar - protestants, catholics, socialists etc. ... - and voted accordingly. Now people votes on the basis of interest and not on principles. That is way different.

In short I am deeply disappointed in the intellectual health of my countrymen. However in other countries the same problem exists as well.
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Harmonica
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... and here is a picture of the todays voting form.



In my town there are 26 parties on the form, but this could go up to 28. And they all have individual puppets.

Let's go through some of the remarkable names of whom most of them we would never hear again:
* 50plus, ... if you're old enough. This one is a stayer for a few seats.
* Party for the Animals ... A stayer too. An alternative Green Party. The party your cat would vote for. Dogs always vote with you.
* New Roads, ... founded by a social-democratic Judas ... and will end accordingly.
* Pirate Party .... if it was a beauty contest she would win.
* Article One .... yeah ... freedom of speech, no discrimination.
* Non-voters ... a colleague is going to vote for it .... yeah, you can vote for a party, but you don't choose your colleagues. A pity.
* JESUS LIVES ... need I say more ...

First results in three hours. I'm biting my nails.

Glad it will be all over!
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Voted.

VVD will probably win. PVV will probably do well, but not as good as was predicted earlier. May be a few surprises with CDA or GroenLinks. Quite possibly a good showing by the small Christian parties (for whom 1 extra seat is a very good showing).

All will hinge on coalition forming. There is no chance in hell Wilders will get the reins. Not enough seats, and he does not want it anyways.

Will comment further tomorrow.

Goddammit, another four years with Rutte as PM. Not liking that. Better than Wilders, but damn.
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Ok before I am off to better things, a prediction: the lack of a decisive victory for the populists will be lauded as a victory for liberal values against populism by talking heads foreign and domestic. And they will celebrate too soon.
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OK ... the first exitpolls ... here we go in the struggle to divide 150 seats in parlement. 82%

Government party the right-conservative neoliberal VVD from 41 to 31, which is seen as a victory and a reward for the right policies the past 4 years. That will almost automatically mean that mr. Rutte will continue as Prime-Minister.

However the other government party the social-democratic PvdA drops from 38 to 9 (!) seats. Their supporters clearly didn't see the government policies as a success.

And now the party where it is all about ...PVV. They go from 15 to 19. The currently have 12 seats, because 3 members left the parlement faction.

Note that 2 other parties Christian Democrates and the rightwing-progressives/liberals also have 19 seats. That means that the PVV isn't necessarily the second party. I consider that as good news.

It is a landslide anyway. And I repeat again the headline ... The Voter is a Sadist.


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Suzan wrote:
Maybe I'm naive, but I was hoping with everything that's going on the formation would be a bit quicker this time. Everyone knows a 4-party coalition is most likely, so making compromises is inevitable.

Quicker than what? Last formation was lightning quick, by Dutch standards. Less than two months after the elections we had the new VVD-PvdA government. Won't happen as quickly this time.

The first exit polls show VVD leading with 31 of 150 seats in the Tweede Kamer (the Dutch Houses of Parliament), with CDA, D66 and PVV having a shared second place with 19 seats each. GroenLinks following with 16 and SP with 14. And then some splinters.

--------------------------
For those few who don't follow Dutch politics closely:
VVD: Conservatives, market-oriented
CDA: Also conservative. Christian-based, but one would have to look hard to see it
D66: Pro-EU, morally leftist, economically more pro-market
PVV: conservative xenophobic anti-EU socialists
SP: The other conservative socialist party. Also anti-EU, less xenophobic
GroenLinks: Progressive eco-friendly socialists.
PvdA: Our traditional Labour party. Got annihilated in these elections.

Some of our weirder political parties:
PvdD (Party for the Animals): Grew from 2 to (provisionally) 5 seats. Rebranded themselves from a party focused on animal welfare to one focused on ecofriendliness. In a country where the political culture is to seek compromise with other parties to get things done, the PvdD is unabashedly refusing any compromise, staying on their principled sidelines. They never get any political influence, but get nice jobs for their (now five) parliamentarians.
50+: The party for the elderly. Fights mainly for good pensions for their electorate, even though it will cost society millions of euros. Won't get very far with it. Went from 2 to 4 seats.
Denk (think). A name many consider ironic, this new party tries to be the Muslim party for anti-PVV rabiates. Also going to 4 seats.
------------------------

Leftist (SP, PvdA, GroenLinks) and rightist (VVD, CDA) parties hold each other in balance. Nobody wants to rule with PVV since they ran away from their government position two governments ago. So the 19 PVV posts won't be part of any government. The same goes for those single issue splinter parties, and that means that it will be difficult to form a majority coalition that is either left- or right oriented.

All too likely there will be a new coalition with VVD, D66 and CDA. This doesn't give a majority, so at least one other party needs to join. GroenLinks seems to be the largest winner, growing from 4 to 16 seats, and based on that would be the logical party. But the idealistic leftist party would have to give up many of its ideals to get in this center-right coalition. On the other hand, it would be difficult to find another party to get a majority. SP has categorically excluded the possibility to form a government with VVD, nobody wants to govern with PVV, and PvdA has lots so much that they want to lick their wounds in the opposition. So if not GroenLinks, a coalition would need at least two other parties, and the more parties in a coalition, the less stable it would be.

So let's consider a VVD/CDA/D66/GroenLinks coalition. It could work - VVD leader and current PM Mark Rutte is more pragmatic than idealistic and can work together with political opponents. The VVD/PvdA coalition that formed the government for the last four years has been remarkably stable, despite stark ideological differences between the parties. It's been the first government in decades that did not dissolve mid-term. So it could happen.

The parties could find each other on a number of points.
D66 and GroenLinks are pro-EU. VVD and CDA less so, but they are not vehemently anti-EU and so won't have problems giving in to that.
Environment will be more of a clash. GroenLinks wants large reforms of society, to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and other things that are detrimental to nature, and D66 also moves in that direction. VVD and CDA are diametrically opposed. They might work out a compromise, but it will cost much trouble.
Social policy might be another clash, but not as severe. A compromise can be found. Four years ago the Netherlands was in an economic crisis, but the economy is booming now. That gives room for a more social economic policy.
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Suzan
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Whymme wrote:
Suzan wrote:
Maybe I'm naive, but I was hoping with everything that's going on the formation would be a bit quicker this time. Everyone knows a 4-party coalition is most likely, so making compromises is inevitable.

Quicker than what? Last formation was lightning quick, by Dutch standards. Less than two months after the elections we had the new VVD-PvdA government. Won't happen as quickly this time.


Guess I'm a bit impatient.
 
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Quote:
... and here is a picture of the todays voting form.
In Australia, that would be called the 'fish and chips wrapper'.

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anemaat wrote:
I believe the voter could benefit from some extra education. Most of them do not have a proper understanding of our political system. Besides they behave like consumers and not civilians. In the past you are part of a pillar - protestants, catholics, socialists etc. ... - and voted accordingly. Now people votes on the basis of interest and not on principles. That is way different.

In short I am deeply disappointed in the intellectual health of my countrymen. However in other countries the same problem exists as well.


Sorry - why would it be better for people to vote for X just because they were X?

And why do you think that not voting for the one group all the time means they aren't voting for principles?
 
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What Anemaat meant is that you should vote based on your principles, not on what you personally wish to get back from the government.

For instance, we now have a party for the elderly, who attracts votes by promising them to increase their pensions. This policy would increase the government debt, and so future generations would have to pay for the comfort of the elderly. This party doubled their seats in parliament, and I don't think that people who voted for them did so out of any political principle other than "it's better for me personally".

The "pillar" system of the past, where people were part of a Catholic pillar, or a Protestant pillar, and so on, was certainly not ideal. But it gave stability. Political parties could look forward to the future, making policy that was good in the long term, without worrying whether they would be punished for it in four years' time.

Our current government was an unlikely combination of traditional left and right. They took office when the Netherlands was in a deep crisis, and had to take impopular measures to get us out of it. The economy has recovered and now our country has gotten out of the recession faster than most European countries, I believe. But the voter doesn't like it; both government parties lost considerably (even though VVD is still the largest party). When they started they had 79 of 150 seats in parliament, and they are now reduced to only 42, or thereabouts.
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One point of attention: Most foreign commentators state that the rise of populism has been stopped, with Wilders getting only 20 seats. I agree only partially. While in earlier polls it seemed that Wilders would get 30 seats or more, 20 seats is still a win for the PVV - last election they got 15 seats, and they ended up with 12 after people had split from the party.

Besides the PVV, there are two or three more parties which I would say are populist; 50+, Denk and Forum voor Democratie. Together, they have nine or ten votes. Next to that, mainstream parties have become more populist, by taking over populist stances (a harsher stance on immigrants / islam, more critical about the EU). So just saying that populism has been stopped, because the PVV only gained 5 more seats instead of 15, is perhaps a bit simplistic.
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anemaat wrote:
Government party the right-conservative neoliberal VVD from 41 to 31, which is seen as a victory and a reward for the right policies the past 4 years. That will almost automatically mean that mr. Rutte will continue as Prime-Minister.

However the other government party the social-democratic PvdA drops from 38 to 9 (!) seats. Their supporters clearly didn't see the government policies as a success.

The result is less dramatic if you consider that last election, the competition between VVD and PvdA made many people vote 'strategically'; in their hearts they would vote for another party, but they didn't want right-wing VVD to become the largest party so they voted for PvdA instead, or vice versa. And the election before that, there was a similar race. So last time VVD drained other right-wing parties, and PvdA did so with the left.

This time, the race wasn't there, people didn't feel the need to vote strategically. A large part of the loss of PvdA and VVD, and of the growth of D66 and CDA, was the lack of those strategic votes.
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Whymme wrote:

The "pillar" system of the past, where people were part of a Catholic pillar, or a Protestant pillar, and so on, was certainly not ideal. But it gave stability. Political parties could look forward to the future, making policy that was good in the long term, without worrying whether they would be punished for it in four years' time.
Don't mind if I disagree. Pillarization was terrible. Stability is well and good, but not a goal unto itself. At least nowadays voters are challenged to actually think about their vote instead of just slavishly voting the same as their parents or whatever their priest told them to.

Also the idea that a party can govern without having to worry about electoral punishment for bad policy is somewhat anti-thetical to the democretic process. If you fuck up, you SHOULD take a hit for it, otherwise, why bother with those pesky voters at all?

If a little populism is the price for moving beyong the pillars, that is one I am willing to pay. At least now it is in the open, where it can be analysed and argued against.
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Venga2 wrote:
Ok before I am off to better things, a prediction: the lack of a decisive victory for the populists will be lauded as a victory for liberal values against populism by talking heads foreign and domestic. And they will celebrate too soon.
Well, I was right on the first part of my prediction
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As to coalition forming, I wonder if VVD will have a more difficult time of it than after the previous two elections. first CDA (Christian democrats) and now PVDA (Labour) were decimated after ruling with VVD and Rutte. New partners will demand more of their own program to implement so as to stop that from happening to them.
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