It’s a ‘monster win’ for the BBB: what the papers say

The front pages are a sea of green. Photo: Dutch News
The front pages are a sea of green. Photo: Dutch News

The BBB’s ‘monster win’ in the provincial elections has left the coalition ‘battered and bruised’ but the will the true victim be the climate? What the papers say.

In its analysis, the NRC said the elections were a battle between ‘the two moods’ in the Netherlands. On the one hand ‘the mood of complacency and belief in political compromise’, on the other ‘the  mood of discontent, the anger at the political establishment’ linked with the farmers’ revolt, all now harnassed by the BBB.

But the party’s ‘resounding, historic win’ is not all bad news for Mark Rutte, the NRC said. He now has more ‘room for manoeuvre’, the paper said, with possible coalitions with the left but also with the BBB, although the party’s implacable opposition to compulsory farm buy-outs and other measures to curb nitrogen emissions seem to guarantee ‘difficult times ahead’ on that score.

The Volkskrant is also asking where the BBB win will leave efforts to control pollution. Will the provinces sabotage the government’s plans to limit nitrogen emissions and should the cabinet take  this into account? the paper heads its analysis.

Nitrogen minister Christianne van der Wal ‘holds a carrot (money for the provinces to find ways to limit emissions and a stick (no money and no say)’, the paper points out. But the cabinet is unlikely to bypass provincial wishes given its dependency on the willingness of the provinces to solve other crises, such as the lack of refugee accommodation.


The BBB must now ‘take the bull by the horns’ the Telegraaf’s political commentator Wouter de Winther said, and ‘once the confetti has been swept up, Van der Plas must make good on her promises. Her voters are entitled to it.’

Like other commentators, he points out that Rutte was wrong to focus his campaign on the the divide with the ‘left cloud’ when all along it was the gap between town and countryside that should have worried him. ‘Voters didn’t fall for it and gave the BBB the benefit of the doubt,’ De Winther said.

Trouw is blunt in its commentary: ‘The chance that the government’s nitrogen emissions police will be implemented by provincial authorities which include the BBB is nil’.

The VVD’s natural coalition partner CDA has received another devastating blow and that means the party will have to cross swords, or get into bed with, the BBB, the paper suggested. With a ‘monster win’ to back her up it is unlikely Van der Plas will take pity on a ‘battered and bruised coalition.’

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