EU elections: Dutch vote reflects trends

Far-right and nationalist parties have made gains in several countries in this weekend’s election for the new European parliament, in line with the shift in the Netherlands on Thursday.

The result of the Dutch vote was announced last week. In the Netherlands, the anti-Islam, anti-EU PVV party headed by Geert Wilders was heralded the big winner with 17% of the vote. Nationalist and far-right parties also made gains in Britain, Austria, Denmark, Slovakia and Hungary.
In Europe as a whole, however, the centre-right European People’s Party (EPP) looks set to continue to hold power. The Dutch Christian Democratic party CDA, which is a member of the EPP, emerged as the biggest party after the vote in Holland although support fell from seven to five seats.
PVV support
In the Netherlands, the traditional parties have been coming to terms with their losses. In particular, the Dutch Labour party (PvdA) was hard hit. It won just three of the Netherlands’ 25 seats, compared with seven at the last election.
Labour is a member of the current coalition government but was criticised for a lacklustre campaign and sending out a mixed message. Labour parties also did badly in Britain, France, Germany and Austria, Nos tv reports.
Voters who left the PvdA voted instead for the Liberal Democrats D66 and left-wing greens GroenLinks, political analysts said. Both those parties, which are strongly pro-Europe, made gains in the Netherlands.
The anti-immigration PVV won its four seats with a switch in support from the right-wing Liberals (VVD), the strongly anti-Europe Socialist and the Christian Democrats, analysts told Nos tv.
The research shows that 10% of the supporters of fundamentalist Christian party SGP also voted for the PVV.
Italian voters
Meanwhile, Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera reported on its website on Sunday that a large number of Italian nationals in the Netherlands were unable to vote after officials told them they had opted to vote in last week’s Dutch elections.
Europeans living in another European country could vote either in their country of origin or their place of residence. To vote twice is illegal and this year new checks had been introduced.
The Netherlands has some 25,000 Italian nationals and thousands were on the official list as having opted to vote in Holland, meaning they could not cast their vote abroad for an Italian candidate.
According to a poll, most non-Dutch Europeans had opted to vote in the Netherlands.
For the BBC’s coverage of the European vote, click here

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