A young Dutch party that aims to challenge the government’s climate agenda won a remarkable victory Wednesday, winning the most seats in the Dutch Senate.
This is not normal, but it is. Caroline van der Plas, party leader, stated that voting is for all citizens. “But today, people have proven they can’t remain at home any more. “We won’t be ignored any longer.”
The Farmer-Citizen Movement Party (BoerBurgerBeweging in Dutch) won its victory thanks to protests against government environmental policies. These policies aim to reduce nitrogen emissions by drastically cutting livestock numbers and buying off thousands of farms. The biodiversity of the world, especially water quality, is greatly affected by ammonia and nitrate pollution.
According to the BBC, the party is on track to win 15 of 75 Senate seats. This is more than Prime Minister Mark Rutte’s conservative VVD party. Rutte won his victory thanks to a four-party coalition that will now hold 24 of the total seats.
“Now is the right time to treat citizens seriously. I am open for talks with everyone. We are ready,” van der Plas added.
The election saw a record turnout of 57.5%, the highest in recent years.
Voters claim that the government’s approach to farmers is not supportive and that the government plan for them is “not good”.
The Greens and the center-left Labor Party coalition won the biggest night win. This group, which is environmentally focused, argued that climate issues will not go away. BBB tied BBB with 15 seats won by the left-leaning coalition.
These results indicate that Rutte may have a difficult time remaining in office. He will need to work with the Senate to pass any legislation.
Rutte congratulated BBB and said party leader van der Plas “looks a big winner tonight”, but he reiterated that his coalition is still the majority power in Senate.
Rutte commented to The Associated Press that the BBB victory may have an immediate impact on government proceedings.
Rutte stated that he believes it was elections for the water authorities and provinces. “And ofcourse, for the Senate, as in that sense there is also some national policy in it. But I would be cautious about drawing too many conclusions from such results.”