Yesterday was an election in the Netherlands for the “Tweede Kamer” (House of Representatives), but there is no clear majority winner. This is normal in Dutch politics – in fact in any electoral system based on proportional representation. So now we go into a phase where a ‘formateur’ works with the parties to negotiate a coalition. The formateur is appointed by the Queen, and must report to her when a government can be formed – or if an impasse is reached and no government can be formed.
The raw results are in, and they’re interesting. (Final results won’t be in until next week).
The two parties with the highest percentage of votes are VVD (41 seats) and PvdA (38 seats). These are the central right, and central left parties in Dutch politics.
The biggest loser seems to be PVV, the anti-immigration party led by Geert Wilders. Their total seats are likely to be 15, down from the 24 they currently hold. It’s interesting to note where this party has its biggest support. From a google map mashup it appears to be limited to very southern areas (look for the electorates coloured grey). The bigger cities, with multicultural populations, have voted PvdA in general. Remember that in Dutch elections only Dutch citizens can vote, so in the areas most affected by immigration the Dutch citizens did not vote for the anti-immigration party.
So we’re heading towards a centrist government, and away from the fringes. Or at least that’s the likely outcome. There’s some negotiation to go through first. This time it seems to be lead by the parties themselves, in a spirit of co-operation. That’s already a more promising step than the confusion and delays we saw after the last election.