Anyone who was hoping for a big shake-up in the Dutch elections will be feeling a little disappointed – it’s not a turn-out anything like the UK general election; although it has been much more efficiently carried out. In terms of who makes up the top of the usual political coalition there is no real change: the CDA, party of the prime minister Jan-Pieter Balkanende, has lost ten seats from the last election; the PvDA, the excuse for a labour party, has dropped a mere three. The Socialist Pary has not really performed as well as hoped, only retaining 16 of the 22 seats from 2005.
So who were the perceived ‘winners’? D66, a tedious neo-liberal party that has been in the wilderness for several years, GroenLinks, an opportunistic green party and Geert Wilders’ Partij Voor de Vrijheid (Party for Freedom) which has more than doubled its seats in parliament. It will be difficult for the coalition government to ignore them now and it is a problem the government has been ignoring ever since Wilders stepped out of the ordinary conservative party and set-up his party with Thatcher-like economic ideals and the added obsession with Islam.
I do hope that the people who keep finding this blog by way of Googling ‘is the Netherlands socialist?‘ will take note – the Netherlands is and always has been a conservative country at heart. Don’t be fooled by the marijuana saga.