Update Dutch Politics – another exciting year ahead?

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A brief recap of 2017 and what to expect in 2018


2017 – A year to remember

– The general elections on 15 March resulted in a very fragmented parliament, including 13 different political parties.

– The VVD/Conservative Liberals of PM Rutte became the biggest party (21%), followed by the PVV/Freedom Party (13%), CDA/Christian Democrats (12%), D66/Liberal Democrats (12%) and GroenLinks/Greens (9%).

– Two relatively new parties made it into the parliament for the first time: DENK (‘Think’), a pro-immigrant party (2%), and Forum voor Democratie, a national-conservative party (2%).

– On 26 Oktober, 225 days after election day (which is the longest formation period in Dutch parliamentary history), a centre-right government was installed, again led by PM Rutte and consisting of 4 parties: VVD/Conservative Liberals, CDA/Christian Democrats, D66/Liberal Democrats and ChristianUnion/Christian Conservatives.

– The new government has just a slight majority in parliament – 76 seats of a total of 150 seats –  which makes it a very fragile coalition. Due to the fact that the coaliton parties only have a slight majority in the senate as well (38 seats of 75 seats in total), many believe the new government won’t last for long. This is confirmed by the latest polls, which show that the three biggest coalition parties would all lose seats in Parliament if general elections would be held now.


2018 – Priorities new government and local elections

According to their government agreement, the new government will focus on multiple topics, including:

* Repeal the 15% dividend to attract foreign business and decrease administrative red tape for Dutch business.
* Set up experiments with regulated cannabis cultivation.
* Take measures against ‘activist shareholders’ to protect Dutch corporations from hostile takeovers.
* Realise a National Climate and Energy Agreement, involving business, NGO’s and policy makers, to kickstart the low carbon transition in the Netherlands.

– In March 2018 local elections will take place in 335 municipalities, electing members of the local councils:

* After the elections the members of the city councils will elect colleges of aldermen to run their municipality.
* These elections are not about electing majors, as these are appointed by the Crown, after the recommendation of the city council.
* Local parties usually win about 40% of the votes during local elections.


What else to expect in 2018?

The rise of the national-conservative Forum of Democracy – led by Thierry Baudet (elected politician of the year 2017) – is expected to continue, mostly at the expense of Geert Wilders’ PVV. According to the latest polls, their anti-EU, anti-immigration and anti-establishment agenda would win them 11 seats in parliament (presently they have 2 seats).

– The Dutch government is expected to push for a ‘soft Brexit‘, to keep Britain as close to the European Union as possible. According to a new report (by KPMG) Dutch business would be hit hard by a ‘hard Brexit’, as costs could be up to 620 million euros due to import and export costs and red tape.

– Having beaten 19 European cities (including Milan, Copenhagen and Barcelona) the city of Amsterdam is ready to host the Europea Medicines Agency (EMA), probably by 2019. Although some worry that due to the inlfux of EMA employees the housing market will overheat even more, most Dutch people welcome this important EU agency to Amsterdam.



For more information: publicmatters.nl