Dutch election: voters go to the polls in the Netherlands – live
Rolling coverage of the Dutch general election as incumbent prime minister Mark Rutte faces challenge by anti-Islam populist Geert Wilders
My colleague Hanna Yusuf, a Dutch speaker who spent part of her childhood in the Netherlands has produced this handy guide to some of the bigger political parties:
People’s Party for Freedom and Democracy (VVD)
Political position: centre-right party
Leader: Mark Rutte (current PM)
Notes: currently in power in a coalition government with the PvdA
The Labour Party (PvdA)
Political position: centre-left
Leader: Lodewijk Ascher
Notes: currently in office in a coalition government with the VVD
Party for Freedom (PVV)
Political position: right-wing to far-right
Leader: Geert Wilders
Christian Democratic Appeal (CDA)
Political position: centre to centre-right
Leader: Sybrand van Haersma Buma
The Green Party (GroenLinks)
Leader: Jesse Klaver
Democrats 66 (D66)
Position: Centre (economic: centre-right, social: centre-left)
Leader: Alexander Pechtold
Socialist Party (SP)
Leader: Emile Roemer
Christian Union (CU)
Position: centre to centre-right
Leader: Gert-Jan Segers
50 Plus (50+)
Leader: Henk Krol
Party for the Animals (PvdD)
Leader: Marianne Thieme
Reformed Political Party (SGP)
Leader: Kees van der Staaij
Loth as I am to big up other media organisations’ coverage of the Dutch elections, if you finish reading everything the Guardian has to offer (I doubt this will happen, but just in case), here are a few bits that are worth a read/listen.
Simon Kuper, of the Financial Times, who grew up in the Netherlands, writes that Wilders “doesn’t worry the Dutch”.
Wilders’ views on asylum seekers, immigration and the EU influence the national debate. But polls show that the biggest issue for voters is “zorg” — which means both healthcare and eldercare. People are also worried about public rudeness and misbehaviour. Long technocratic TV debates on these topics draw big audiences.
All this is deeply tedious for foreigners. Even if Wilders finishes first on March 15, expect months of boring coalition talks, culminating in a government without Wilders. Then foreigners can forget about Dutch politics for another decade.
Unlike some far-right parties elsewhere in Europe, the PVV has no neo-Nazi roots. It’s loud in its support for gay and women’s rights. It promotes itself as a strong defender of Holland’s Jewish community. Is its ideology just an opportunistic mishmash? Or does it make some sense in a Dutch context? Searching for Henk and Ingrid, Tim Whewell sets off through Dutch “flyover country” – the totally un-photogenic satellite towns and modern villages that tourists, and Holland’s own elite, rarely see.
He asks if the PVV’s platform is just thinly disguised racism. Or has it raised important questions about immigration and multiculturalism that other European countries, including the UK, have been scared to ask?