The Dutch election results – What the local and foreign media say

The Volkskrant asks if the Dutch are fed up with the fringe parties in the wake of the massive victory for VVD and Labour. ‘This signals the end of the Pim Fortuyn revolt.

‘There was political gain to be had from being a protest party: that has now come to an end’, the paper quotes Wim Voermans, professor of constitutional and administrative law at Leiden university. ‘These elections were the best ever, with the polls getting it completely wrong. This was democracy at its best. (..) The discussion was no longer about a choice for or against Europe but about Europe, how are we going to deal with it. That is completely new.’

Claes de Vreese, professor of political communication at Amsterdam university, says these ‘incredible’ results gainsay those who believed the time for big parties had passed.

‘I see this as a choice for a pragmatic solution to the problems we are faced with. Wilders and the Socialist Party only ever represented minority standpoints. Research also showed that, at heart, the Dutch have always had a positive attitude towards Europe in spite of the dissatisfaction about the bail-outs to the Southern European countries. It was a good day for pro-Europeans. (..)

‘The VVD and Labour have absorbed the fringe parties. Many PVV voters came from the VVD and have now returned to it, a reaction to the PVV’s withdrawal from the Catshuis crisis talks. And Labour is a party that anyone can imagine voting for one day.


I don’t think this is a ‘no’ to the protest parties’, says former housing minister Ella Vogelaar. ‘It was clear that 40% of voters had not made up their mind and they finally went for VVD and Labour. A coalition between VVD and Labour? They can’t but work together. But it’s going to be a difficult formation. The VVD has shifted to the right and Labour to the left. Compromises will have to be made.’

According to Elsevier, the VVD is now ‘chained’ to Labour. But that doesn’t really matter, the paper writes, because ‘In secret, Labour prefers a coalition with the VVD over a coalition with the SP. Labour is really a party of the political middle-ground whose rulers would rather work with liberal gentlemen than with tough SP radicals, who also, let it be remembered, destroyed the FNV, Labour’s power base.’

Old style politics

Trouw writes that the overwhelming choice for VVD and Labour is a sign that ‘old style politics have overcome the shocks of the first decade of the new century’. The paper ponders the possibility of a third party to complement the coalition between VVD and Labour.

‘VVD and Labour do not have a majority in the Senate, not even with D66. The most logical choice would be the CDA which would give the coalition a majority in both chambers. But the Christian Democrats, battered and disillusioned, may not be too keen’, the paper concludes.

The NRC calls the result: ‘an historic victory for the VVD, a comeback for Labour and a bollocking for Wilders.’ ‘VVD voters are relieved their party, unlike CDA and PVV, have not been punished for being in the last cabinet. And they haven’t had to cope with the fall-out of the crisis like so many other European leaders’, the paper writes.

‘Nobody could have seen the Labour victory coming but the paper thinks it was down in large part to Labour leader Diederik Samsom’s debating skills and Emile Roemer’s less than successful tv appearances.

‘Roemer did a mea culpa on tv and said he’d been ‘too nice’. It led to a nosedive in the polls and a disappointing final result’, the paper concludes.


The formation game can begin’ is the headline in the Telegraaf. The paper quotes a number of people unhappy with the fact that the queen won’t be involved in the formation process. The CDA, which voted against a change in the rules, fears ‘chaos will ensue’.

‘Parties used to meet with the queen and they would be certain to be listened to. Now we don’t know’, CDA MP Ger Koopmans says. ‘It was a stupid thing to do, a solution for a non-existing problem’, the VVD’s Frits Bolkestein is quoted as saying.

British view

The Guardian hones in on the European consequences of the Dutch vote. ‘The outcome represented a victory for pro-EU parties, although Rutte has very little good to say about the EU and attracted some of Wilders’ anti-EU voters by, for example, declaring on television that Greece would not get another euro of Dutch money. (..)

Brussels will be relieved by the result, although the Dutch have become much more wary of the EU, albeit keen to keep the union and the euro’, the paper writes.

The BBC describes the fall of Geert Wilders: ‘In the end, the pragmatic Dutch conformed to stereotype. They overwhelmingly rejected Mr Wilders and other anti-European voices, opting in huge numbers to back the two main centrist parties. (..)

‘It rounded off a rare good day for the eurozone. A potential German legal impediment to the euro bail-out fund was removed, plans for a banking union were unveiled and the voters in a key EU country backed parties who want a practical, workable solution that will save the single currency.’

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