The Dutch will elect a new parliament tomorrow, and after the vote the country will have a new prime minister for the first time in more than a decade and it will become clear how conservative the new government can be.
Why were these elections called?
The previous centre-right government, led by Prime Minister Mark Rutte, fell in July over differences over how to reduce the flow of asylum seekers entering the country. Rutte, the longest-serving Dutch prime minister, lost popularity and vowed not to run again.
What are the main issues before voters
The election campaign in the Netherlands focused on three issues: immigration, living standards and climate change.
With unemployment below 4 percent, the main social problems are the lack of housing, the shortcomings of the health care system and resentment that the gap between rich and poor is widening in the Dutch society, known for its egalitarianism (based on universal equality – note ed.). Immigration has been an issue for the Netherlands since the early years of this century, and curbing asylum seekers and labor migrants remains an important issue.
Voters concerned about the climate crisis point to the need for the country to make accelerated investments in “green” infrastructure and end government funding that benefits fossil fuel companies.
What a new government of the Netherlands can change
The majority of voters support right-leaning parties, but no party is on track to win more than 20 percent of the vote. This means that difficult coalition negotiations, accompanied by compromises, are looming.
A hard-right coalition would endorse the construction of new nuclear power plants as well as new strategies to limit immigration, while slightly altering plans to reduce livestock numbers and fertilizer use, which farmers strongly oppose.
Conservative parties have not ruled out seeking exceptions to EU rules to achieve their goals. A more centrist coalition would likely continue the current build-up of renewable energy sources – notably North Sea wind farms, natural gas drilling, sticking to the livestock reduction plan and would increase social spending, including by raising the minimum wage. salary.
Who is competing for Rütte’s place
There are four candidates aiming for Rutte’s premiership.
Dylan Yeshilgoz-Zegeriuswho heads Rutte’s party, the conservative People’s Party for Freedom and Democracy (NPSD), is a Turkish immigrant and would be the first female prime minister of the Netherlands.
Frans Timmermansthe former EC Vice-President in charge of the Green Deal, is the candidate of the Labor Party and Green Left alliance.
The former Christian Democrat Peter Hermann Omzichtwho created his own party called the New Social Contract in protest, is focused on reforming the Dutch political system.
Geert Wildersa longtime anti-Islamist, has recently given his Freedom Party a more moderate appearance with a view to entering government.
The elections and after them
Polling stations open tomorrow at 7:30 a.m. (8:30 a.m. Bulgarian time) and close at 9:00 p.m. (10:00 p.m. Bulgarian time), when the national television NOS will announce the results of the first exit pole.
Later in the evening, party leaders will answer questions from journalists, although the counting of votes will not be completed until Thursday. The old parliament is expected to be dissolved on December 5, Tuesday, and the first session of the new parliament is expected the following day.
The political shuttles to form a new government start relatively quickly after the elections, but the process has many steps. The party that comes out on top traditionally takes the lead by naming the first negotiator. Negotiations usually take months, with the parties considering what compromises they are willing to make, and also which coalitions between the parties would have a majority for policies in the Senate – he has no legislative initiative, but approves the laws and his composition is not voted on in tomorrow’s elections – as well as whether a minority government would be effective.
Rutte and his current team will be a caretaker government until a new one is formed, which is expected to be early next year.
(Translation from English: Ivo Tasev, BTA)