The Freedom Party (PVV) of xenophobic leader Geert Wilders has won a resounding victory in the November 22 parliamentary elections in the Netherlands, with 37 seats out of a total of 150 in the lower house of the country’s bicameral parliament.
In second place, the coalition of social democrats and left-wing environmentalists, GroenLinks-PvdA, led by former European Commission vice-president and Green Deal promoter Frans Timmermans, won 25 seats. The right-wing liberals of the VVD, Mark Rutte’s outgoing 13-year-long PM party, won 24 seats. In fourth place, the new center-right New Social Contract (NSC) of Pieter Omtzigt (former CDA MP, Christian Democrats) won 20 seats.
The political context surrounding this outcome includes the early fall of the Rutte IV government, which was triggered by the issue of the so-called “asylum crisis”: the disastrous management of refugee centers and the inability to humanely accommodate a growing number of people fleeing war zones.
Secondly, deteriorating conditions for the majority made the cost of living one of the key issues in this election. The working class in the Netherlands is suffering from the effects of an enduring economic and social crisis, the result of 13 years of austerity-driven, liberal-conservative governments. The number of people living in poverty (800,000) has increased, and people face higher housing, health, and energy costs, as well as an increase in the cost of basic commodities in recent years, forcing thousands to resort to free food distribution centers.