Sooooo the Dutch election just happened and we are starting to know the results. The VVD (the party of Mark Rutte, the current Prime Minister who would remain PM then) would win 33 seats; the PVV (Geert Wilders) 20, the CDA (Christian Democrats) and D66 (social liberals) would get 19; the GroenLinks (the Green Party) 14 the Socialist Party 14 and the PvdA (the Labour Party) 9. That’s for the main results.
I have to say this election, both as a foreigner living in the Netherlands but also as a regular citizen of the world, made me happy. Here is why.
No Geert Wilders win!
Yes this is completely personal, no I’m not saying how people should vote, no I’m not denying quite many people voted for them and each vote is respectable… But YES I’m so glad there was no major PVV win! Like guys, I’m sorry but #StopIslam is not a political program, seriously.
As you may or may not know, the Dutch system is based on a coalition government, so technically the PVV could have been a part of the Dutch government as they are, for now, the second party. But, since they are not the only second as there are three parties with the same score, I don’t think the VVD will choose to work with them. I’m actually pretty sure it won’t happen. Although we still have to wait a bit before knowing what the government will be, we will probably end up with a VVD, CDA, D66 and eventually Groen-Links coalition.
The huge rise of the Green Party
Speaking of them, the GroenLinks gained ten seats, going from 4 to 14 seats. They also are the party for which the young people voted the most. Considering the improvements that the country still has to achieve in terms of ecology, this is a good sign. They also are pro-EU which also shows that not all the Dutch (and, as it turns out, a minority of them actually) are against the European Union.
I personally always thought the Green parties had interesting ideas, but in countries with no proportional they stay a small minority of representatives. Although they do not often have great programs with big reforms, they do have important ideas and goals on how to improve our lives and the future generation’s. Of course that’s a personal opinion, but we only have one Earth and we can’t keep wasting it. So yes, the small victory (because let’s face it they are still not the main Dutch party) of the GroenLinks does make me happy and optimistic.
Important turnout: well done Dutchies
Seems like the Dutch took our advice very seriously: they did indeed vote. Around 80% of the registered voters actually voted, this is huge. The highest in thirty years even. During a time when so many people think “why would I bother voting, they are all the same anyway”, this is very refreshing. So thank you Netherlands for showing us that not all hope is lost! Even though, fair enough, the Dutch are never the last ones to vote. But when barely half the population ends up voting, reaching 80% still feels incredible. I strongly believe that voting is important, and it is especially true in a proportional representation system where all votes count.
Hope for France!
As a proud Frenchie myself, I have to say this: thank you Netherlands, you made us feel way more optimistic about our own coming election. Thank you for the reminder that populism is not a fatality and that people are smarter than that. That being said, I also think that the votes in favour of the extreme right parties are higher now than in the past thirty years and we should also try to understand that. Although the PVV did not win, he did not completely lose as it became the second party. That also says a lot about a population, what are the people’s fears and interests, and we should also work on that. But still, sorry not sorry, but the PVV scored less than expected and it is a reason to be happy!
Of course no election is perfect, and of course some voters are probably disappointed. Many Dutch, because of the coalition system, actually think that the system is not so good because they have to do concessions and therefore politicians will never do exactly what their program said. Well if it can make you feel better: it’s the same situation in non coalition governments!