Thursday, March 04, 2010

Dutch courage?

The local elections yesterday provide a snapshot as to possible results in the forthcoming June Tweede Kamer elections in June, the big question being what happens to Geert Wilders and his PVV party.

Iain Traynor in Guardian has written up the results and is pretty clear about the implications,

Geert Wilders, the Dutch far-right anti-immigrant maverick, scored big gains in yesterday's local elections in the Netherlands, according to projections last night, indicating he may dominate the political scene in the run-up to the general election in three months.
A more in depth approach comes from Paul Belien at Brussels Journal, and here you see the way in which Wilders has been gaining more and more support,

A poll taken yesterday by Dutch state television NOS predicts that Wilders will gain 24 of the 150 parliamentary seats next June. This would make the PVV the third biggest party in the country, after the Christian-Democrats (CDA) of the current Dutch Prime Minister Jan-Peter Balkenende, and Labour. There are, however, other polls, such as the De Hond poll, which many consider to be the Netherlands’ most respected, which predicted yesterday that the PVV is to become the biggest party with 27 seats.

CDA currently has 41 seats; the NOS poll predicts that it will drop to a mere 29, De Hond predicts an even lower 26 seats. Labour currently has 33 seats and is predicted by NOS to drop to 27 and by De Hond to 24 seats. The center-right Liberal Party VVD is predicted in both polls to keep its current 21 seats. The Christian Union (CU) has seven seats in both polls, one more than the current six. Hence, both NOS and De Hond predict that the current center-left coalition of CDA, Labour and CU loses its parliamentary majority. A center-right coalition of CDA, Wilders’ PVV, VVD and CU would in both polls have a comfortable majority of 81 seats.
I personally saw the affection with which Wilders is held by the liberal VVD when I met him in Strasbourg, it was all "Hail friend, well met" type stuff and generall back slapping and laughter, while a senior figure in the Christian party told me that Wilders was "a very serious politicain, with whom we can work". Not sure what the CDA think.

De Hond was the polling organmisation that called the EU Constitution rejection correctly and is generally the most accurate of Dutch pollsters.

Oh, and a comment on the Guardian piece, UKIP did not invite Mr Wilders to London tomorrow, the invitation came from independent Peer, Baroness Cox, though Lord Pearson UKIP leader has helped the visit.

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