What the papers say

Most newspapers seem to be in agreement about one thing this morning: The PVV’s win in Almere has changed the Dutch political landscape for good, NOS writes on its website on Thursday.

And, according to the papers, more electoral success may be on the way for Wilders in the general election if NOS and ANP polls are to be believed.
The Volkskrant wonders if the PVV will look on from the sidelines or put its money where its mouth is and become part of a local government coalition. ‘Wilders will then experience the practical problems of making his policies stick and his decisions will have to be pragmatic’. The paper also thinks support for the PVV could be far greater and that the number of protest votes on June 9 may surprise us yet.
Trouw thinks the break-up between Labour and the Christian Democrats had created a stalemate between left and right. The PVV win is radicalising the traditional right-wing parties while the big loss of the Socialist Party means left-wing parties are toning down their policies. ‘The triumvirate of Christian Democrats, Social-Democrats and liberals which has characterised so much of twentieth century politics is coming to an end.’
And CDA and Labour have only themselves to blame, the paper says. They have shown themselves to be incapable of setting out a course for the country from the middle ground.
The stalemate could even become permanent now that both parties have ruled out a coalition. Perhaps VVD and D66 will play peacemaker and prevent a complete break-up between left and right.
The PVV’s triumphant win in Almere and The Hague clearly demonstrates voters’ feelings of dissatisfaction and unrest, Algemeen Dagblad writes. They are exactly the kind of feelings that have proved vote-winners for Geert Wilders.
The wins in Almere and The Hague should see Wilders take up government responsibility, the paper says. But Wilders has manoeuvred himself into an awkward corner by making his headscarf ban a negotiation issue.
Wilders has been talking tough and his supporters want his actions to reflect his words. The question is whether the PVV can and wants to be in a coalition with other parties. Wilders didn’t seem that keen on Wednesday, AD notes.
According to the Telegraaf the political landscape has not only changed but has been blown to smithereens. It says that parties will still have to campaign but that, based on Wednesday’s poll, it is more than likely that the next government will be a four-party coalition.
The formation will be a difficult one, the paper predicts, not a good thing in the current economic climate when the country needs a strong cabinet.
The Telegraaf also thinks the Christian Democrats’ position is ‘precarious’. The party appears to be blamed for the fall of the cabinet. The paper says the Christian Democrats might ask themselves whether Jan Peter Balkenende, with a string of failed cabinets to his name, is still the party’s best bet for the premiership.
‘Considering his track record its is taking a very big risk indeed to ask the voters to support Balkenende again,’ the paper says.
This is an unofficial translation