Netherlands Vote Wednesday: Analyzing the Turkey Effect

Citizens in the Netherlands will vote on Wednesday for a new government. It’s going to be a mess forming a coalition.

by Mish

The above from Dutch Opinion Polls.

Political Party Explanation

  • VVD is the People’s Party for Freedom and Democracy. VVD is led by prime minister Mark Rutte.
  • PvdA is the Labour party. PvdA is in a current coalition with VVD.
  • PVV is Partij voor de Vrijheid, Geet Wilders’ annti-immigraton eurosceptic Party for Freedom.
  • SP is the Socialist party. SP is in opposition against the Second Rutte cabinet.
  • CDA is the Christian Democratic Appeal party. From 2010 to 2012 the CDA was a junior coalition partner in a right-wing minority cabinet with the People’s Party for Freedom and Democracy (VVD), supported in parliament by the Party for Freedom (PVV).
  • D66 is the Democrats 66 party whose main objective is to democratize the political system. It seeks to create an American-style presidential system.
  • CU is the Christian Union. The CU holds socially conservative positions on issues such as same-sex marriage, abortion, and euthanasia. It is Eurosceptic while maintaining progressive stances on economic, immigration and environmental issues.
  • GL is the GroenLinks (green) party. GroenLinks describes itself as “green”, “social” and “tolerant”
  • SGP is the Reformed Political Party. The term Reformed is not a reference to political reform but is a synonym for Calvinism. The party favors the re-introduction of the death penalty in the Netherlands. They base this on the Bible, specifically on Genesis 9:6, “Whoso sheddeth man’s blood, by man shall his blood be shed: for in the image of God made he man.” The SGP opposes feminism, and concludes, on Biblical grounds, that men and women are of equal value (gelijkwaardig) but not equal.
  • PvdD, Partij voor de Dieren, is the Party for the Animals. Among its main goals are animal rights and animal welfare, though it claims not to be a single-issue party. The party does consider itself to be a testimonial party, which does not seek to gain political power, but only to testify to its beliefs and thereby influence other parties.
  • 50+, 50 Plus, is a pensioners’ interests political party.

Coalition Math

  1. It takes 76 seats to form a coalition.
  2. All of the parties have ruled out entering a coalition that contains Geet Wilders’ PVV.
  3. Take away Wilders’ 24 PVV seats and another 14 seats from SP and it gets rather problematic coming up with 76 seats given the varying views.
  4. VVD+PvdA+D66+GL = 27+9+16+19=71
  5. VVD+PvdA+D66+CDA = 27+9+16+21=73

In regards to point number 3, is the CU or SGP likely to agree with the socially tolerant GL Green party?

At Least Four to Tango

In a Bellwether to European Populism, Bloomberg reports that it will take at least 4 to tango.

A coalition of 5 looks even more likely, and if PVV hits the high 20s, I wonder if it takes a coalition of 6.

Don’t Hold Your Breath

"Since World War II, it’s taken an average of 72 days to form a government. The speed record, dating from 1958, is 10 days. But be warned: A total of 208 days were required in 1977 to establish a coalition that consisted of only two parties.”

Playing Politics

"Mark Rutte, the Dutch prime minister, insisted he was not trying to play politics when his government refused to let the Turkish foreign minister into the country to attend a rally over the weekend, triggering a diplomatic dispute between the two Nato members and violent protests in Rotterdam.

The dispute with Turkey escalated after President Recep Tayyip Erdogan labeled the Dutch government “fascists” and threatened sanctions. This appears to have turned what could have provided a platform for Mr. Wilders into an occasion for the Dutch government — which includes Mr. Rutte’s party and the centre-left Labour party — to show it could act firmly.

86 percent of people supported the government’s handling of the situation, according to Dutch pollster Maurice de Hond — a huge margin in a country where no party is forecast to get more than 16 percent of the vote in Wednesday’s election.

Mr. Wilders reveled in the crisis, labeling protesters a “fifth column” and calling for the deportation of those who support Mr. Erdogan.

To the right of Mr. Rutte, the leader of Christian Democratic Appeal called for the EU’s association agreement with Turkey — in place for more than a half a century — to be scrapped.

Liberal parties have made no secret of their efforts to court disaffected VVD voters, who have blanched at some of Mr. Rutte’s recent comments on immigration aimed at shoring up his party’s right flank. At the start of campaigning, Mr. Rutte took a full-page advert in a newspaper telling people who do not abide by Dutch values to “act normal or leave”.

“These elections are crucial: let us stop the domino effect, right here, this week, this Wednesday. The domino effect of the wrong sort of populism winning in this world,” he said."

Regardless of the outcome, Erdogan got precisely what he wanted: Ability to label the winning party as racists while shoring up support at home. The latter is his real goal for now.

Mike “Mish” Shedlock

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