Dutch Election Euro Zone impact: Why Geert Wilders?

Dutch Election Euro Zone impact: How can the victory of Geert Wilders impact the Netherlands positioning in the Europe? Will the bloc be affected?

6 March, AtoZForex Dutch election is around the corner, as citizens of the Netherlands are expected to choose their new President on the 15th of March.The general election in the country is largely seen as an indicator of the populist strength in Europe. The next important elections are taking place in Germany and France this year.

Dutch Election Euro Zone impact

Market experts are speculating that the Netherlands can fall into the anti-establishment movement, where the Dutch elections emerge in the wake of Brexit referendum and Donald Trump’s victory.

Largely known that the Netherlands is a multicultural and liberal country. However, elsewhere in the bloc, the refugee crisis combined with anti-EU movement, has sparked the rise of an anti-immigrant movement. The name of such movement in the Netherlands is the Party for Freedom (PVV). The leader of the Party – nationalist Geert Wilders.

The PVV is now going neck and neck at nearly 16 percent at polling with Prime Minister Mark Rutte’s People’s Party for Freedom and Democracy (VVD). The latter is the governing alliance with the Labor Party (PvdA).However, in case the PVV will top the polls, none of the popular parties will be able to unify with Geert Wilders.

Wilders appears to support the anti-Islam, anti-immigrant and eurosceptic rhetoric. The voters, who are concerned about crime levels and Dutch identity, are largely supporting him.

Who are the candidates?

Geert Wilders is the only members of the PVV party. The party’s key plan is:

“Instead of financing the entire world and people we don’t want here, we’ll spend the money on ordinary Dutch citizens.”

The PVV Party’s one-page platform pledges to “de-Islamize the Netherlands.” It promises to ban the Koran and close the mosques across the Netherlands. Moreover, Mr. Wilders pledges to make the “Netherlands independent again” by exiting the EU.

Mark Rutte, Prime Minister of the conservative VVS Party is the key competitor of PVV’s Wilders. The pair will meet at a debate two days before the actual election. Mr. Rutte is hoping to gain back the popularity he lost during the years of austerity. That time. He has been stressing the economic recovery in the country. Moreover, Wilders has also triggered the popular parties to support the right by focusing the debate on immigration and the unsuccessful integration.

What are the issues?

However, this election will not only concentrate on immigration. The economy of the Netherlands has been on the track above 2 percent after a stagnation of 2008-2014. Currently, the unemployment in the country is low and is expected to decline further. The wages are increasing and the inflation levels are under 1 percent. Additionally, the Dutch housing market is on the rise, even though the prices are below 2010 levels.

Yet, lower and middle-class voters believe that they have taken the consequences of the austerity measures Rutte has executed after 2008-2009 crisis. As a fact, an anti-EU sentiment is present, but the Dutch exit from the EU is unlikely.

Migrants in the Netherlands

The number of migrants to the Netherlands has decreased by almost 50% from last year to about 30,000. The latest inflow of asylum seekers accounts only for a small fraction of the non-Western population in the country. This implies that the backlash in relation to migrants is not only about fresh arrivals.

The PVV supporters claim that the Dutch welfare system cannot handle more inflow of immigration. Moreover, they believe that the migrants that are now present in the Netherlands are draining the resources in the country.

What are the prospects?

Candidates are chosen from the party lists that are based on a single nationwide constituency. Where nearly 0,67 percent of the vote is accounting for one seat. There are 28 parties that are competing for 150 seats in the lower parliament, so called Tweede Kamer. The parties are varying from the traditional center-right and leftist parties to special-interest related ones.

Even though there were always a lot of the Dutch parties, there are three key parties in the Netherlands. However, in the past years, they have lost positions to other political movements. Back in 1986, the key three parties have dominated the elections by 85 percent. Yet, during the last elections in 2012, they have gained only about 60 percent of the vote.

This year’s elections are special due to the proliferation of parties and split electorate. In addition to the key rivals, VVD and PVV, there are five more parties polling nearly 10 percent.

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