The Netherlands goes to the polls on November 22 to elect a new government. The VVD is currently slightly ahead in the polls, so will Dilan Yesilgöz become the country’s first female prime minister?
Campaign leader: Dilan Yesilgöz (currently justice minister)
Seats in parliament: 34
The Volkspartij voor Vrijheid en Democratie (People’s Party for Freedom and Democracy) is a tricky party to place outside the Dutch political sphere. Supportive of the free market as far as the economy is concerned, the party is traditionally liberal on social issues. Mark Rutte has been prime minister since 2010 and is now replaced by Yeşilgöz, the popular and conservative justice minister, who came to the Netherlands as a refugee but takes a hard line on refugees herself. Manifesto
Main points from the manifesto
- Introduction of two types of refugees and cancellation of permanent residency permits
- “Better control” of all forms of migration
- 10 years residency requirement before naturalisation to become Dutch
- Housing shortage to be tackled by private sector development
- Official limits on rent increases and no new reduction in mortgage tax relief
- Increase in the minimum wage, but not specified how much
- Reform of social benefit system, and more take-home pay for average incomes
- Priority in housing for people with socially important jobs, such as teachers
- Introduction of right to buy for social housing tenants
- The Netherlands to be carbon neutral by 2035
- Nitrogen-based pollution to be halved by 2035 (not 2030 as in current coalition)
- Four new large nuclear power stations and several small ones to be built
- More focus on animal welfare in intensive farming sectors
- More people to be encouraged to work and to work longer hours
- Stronger geopolitical role for the EU
Yesilgöz is the only one of the big party leaders not to rule out working with Geert Wilders and the far right PVV, and she is known to favour a right-leaning coalition, thanks to her hard line on immigration. Some pundits say she is likely to struggle in the forthcoming debates which may hurt her chances of becoming prime minister.
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