UPDATE DUTCH POLITICS – Left-Wing GL-PvdA alliance on track for EU election victory

Geert Wilders' PVV (Freedom Party) to end second


In yesterday’s European Parliament elections, the GroenLinks-PvdA coalition, an alliance of the Dutch Green Party and the Labour Party, has secured the highest number of votes according to preliminary exit polls (see table below). The combined force of these two left-wing parties is projected to capture 8 of the 31 seats allocated to the Netherlands. This, however, marks a slight decline from their current positions, holding a total of 9 seats – 6 for the PvdA and 3 for GroenLinks.

A shift in the left-wing landscape

Despite being the frontrunner in this election, the PvdA’s broader political family, the Socialists & Democrats (S&D), is experiencing a notable decrease in support within the Netherlands. They are projected to lose 2 seats compared to the previous term, making them the biggest losers among Dutch parties in this election.

Right-wing gains and far-right success

On the opposite end of the spectrum, Geert Wilders’ far-right PVV (Freedom Party) has emerged as the biggest winner. The PVV is set to increase its representation from a mere 1 seat, following a poor performance five years ago, to a projected 7 seats. While this is a significant gain, it falls short of the PVV’s peak polling predictions of up to 12 seats in recent weeks. Nonetheless, this result indicates a shift towards the far right within the Dutch representation in the European Parliament.

Pro-European sentiments rising

Pro-European parties have also shown strong performances. The center-right CDA, progressive D66, and the pro-EU Volt are all expected to perform better than pre-election polls suggested. The CDA and D66 are each likely to secure 3 seats, while Volt is set to gain one seat.

Interestingly, many parties have adopted a more positive stance towards the European Union compared to five years ago. This includes traditionally Euro-skeptic parties like the PVV and BBB (Farmer’s Party), which have moderated their rhetoric against Brussels.

Mixed results for coalition partners

The campaign period was heavily influenced by ongoing coalition negotiations in the Netherlands. Among the current coalition partners, results were mixed: the PVV and BBB (Farmer’s Party) gained seats (7 and 2, respectively), while the VVD (Liberal Conservatives, Prime Minister Mark Rutte’s party) and NSC (New Social Contract, led by Pieter Omtzigt) did not perform as well as expected, each losing 1 seat.

Despite these changes, the election did not result in a significant backlash against the VVD and NSC, which some had anticipated due to their roles in forming a government with the PVV.

Voter turnout and election dynamics

This year’s voter turnout reached 46,8%, the highest in 35 years for a European Parliament election in the Netherlands. Ten political parties are projected to win at least 1 seat in the European Parliament. However, smaller parties like ChristenUnie (Christian Union), Forum voor Democratie (National Conservatives), 50Plus (party for the elderly), and the SP (Socialist Party) are expected to lose their seats.

Exit poll uncertainties and final seat allocation

It’s important to note that these results are based on exit polls, which carry a margin of error. The allocation of the final seats could still change, particularly the 2nd seat for BBB and the 7th seat for the PVV, which are currently the most uncertain. Volt narrowly missed out on securing a 2nd seat, according to the preliminary results.

Additionally, preferential votes within party lists still need to be counted. This process will not affect the overall distribution of seats among parties but could alter which candidates within the parties take up those seats. Notably, in parties like PvdA-GL and D66, there is often significant support for female candidates lower on the list, which could lead to shifts in the final lineup.

As the official results come in, the political landscape in the Netherlands is set for significant changes, reflecting broader trends of rising right-wing influence and a complex stance towards European integration.

"The campaign period was heavily influenced by ongoing coalition negotiations in the Netherlands."

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