Progressive, pro-Europe parties make gains in NL, Nexit support slumps

Frans Timmermans is the big winner. Photo: European Union, 2018 / Etienne Ansotte

Geert Wilders’ anti-immigration PVV and the Socialist Party may lose all their representation in the European parliament, if a second exit poll, based on actual results, is accurate.

With the rest of Europe voting in the next three days, the Dutch vote shows a clear win for the Social Democrats, and a decline in support for anti-EU parties – particularly the PVV.

The GeenPeil exit poll uses the official result at 732 of the 9,000 plus polling stations, which were collected by volunteers who were allowed to observe at the official counts and processed by opinion pollster Maurice de Hond.

GeenPeil gives the Dutch social democratic PvdA six of the 26 Dutch European parliamentary seats, one more than the NOS exit poll which is based on a sample of voters, but says the PVV and SP are both out.

The GeenPeil poll also gives the nationalist Forum voor Democratie three seats, confirming the disappointing night for the fledgling party, which had hoped for four or five to consolidate its strong performance in the March provincial elections. Its support would appear to have come from the PVV.




Commentators say the big swing to the Labour party is due to the Frans Timmermans effect. The multi-lingual Timmermans, a former Dutch minister and current vice president of the European Commission, is popular among pro-EU voters.

‘Still buzzed about Dutch exit poll, but skeptical about people reading European trends into it,’ said academic Cas Mudde on Twitter. ‘Most likely PvdA benefited from Spitzenkandidaten bump, which means it’s idiosyncratic and doesn’t mean anything for other social democratic parties,’ said Mudde, who researches extremism and democracy.

The official results will not be formally presented until Sunday evening.

Far right

Both polls confirm a drop in support for far right, anti-EU policies. In total, the NOS exit poll says just 15% of Dutch voters voted for pro-Nexit parties and support for Eurosceptic parties, including the Socialists, is down from 23% to just over 19%.

‘Left-wing parties have beaten the right,’ said GroenLinks leader Jesse Klaver, whose party is set to gain one seat to take a total of three. ‘I am really happy for the progressive left in the Netherlands.’

Describing the PvdA win as an ‘unbelievably good performance,’ prime minister and VVD leader Mark Rutte said voters have been clear in electing parties which want to remain in the European Union.

Forum spokesman Derk Jan Eppink said the party had expected such a result. ‘I am always very careful with polls and the official results is not until Sunday so we hope for an extra seat,’ he said. ‘Nevertheless, with three seats we can mean something in the European parliament.’

Support for Forum is down from 15% in the provincial elections in March, when the party was the biggest ahead of the VVD, to 11%.


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