The political status in Netherlands
Regarding the national parliamentary elections which took place on 17 March, Mark Rutte’s VVD has again become the largest party in the Netherlands by far. Preliminary results indicate that the party has scored 35 seats. D66 is the second largest party with 24 seats. Losing parties are GroenLinks (that goes from fourteen to seven seats), the socialist party (that goes from fourteen to nine) and the Party for freedom of Geert Wilders, that has to give up three seats, so now has 17. The CDA has not been able to break the power of Mark Rutte's VVD, and loses four of the nineteen seats it had.
Also noteworthy is the gain of the new pro-European party Volt: it probably manages to secure three seats. Thierry Baudet's Forum for Democracy (FvD) can probably count on eight seats, as the party now still has two in the Parliament. JA21, the party that emerged from the departure of FvD members Joost Eerdmans and Annabel Nanninga, will also enter the Parliament. According to the most recent poll, they will win four seats. At the same time, voters have also cast their eye over a few newcomers. Volt and JA21 are in the running, and the BoerBurgerBeweging might also get a seat in the Parliament. BIJ1 of Sylvana Simons seems to end up with 1 seat. All in all, 17 parties will probably have a seat in the Lower House, equalling the record set in 1918. This prognosis is based on the counting of 88 percent of the votes. The coalition as a whole currently has 79 seats. In the current chamber there are 76.
Because VVD and D66 were the largest parties in the elections, they will both take the lead in the formation of a coalition. Prime Minister Mark Rutte from the VVD is not ruling out an attempt with newcomer JA21 to gain the required majority in the Parliament – especially since that party has a good number of seats in the Upper House, given the former Forum for Democracy members that switched. The VVD leader also mentioned the continuation of the current coalition with the Christian Democratic Union as an option.
Last week Thursday, a journalist photographed Minister of internal affairs Kasja Ollongren while leaving formation discussions, as she had just received the news that she was positive for COVID-19 infection. The photograph showed a note from Ollongren with the passage: "position Omtzigt, function elsewhere", allegedly mentioned by Prime Minister Mark Rutte. Pieter Omtzigt is one of the Members of Parliament who discovered the Cabinet’s tax scandal a few months ago. This picture therefore has caused a lot of commotion in the parliament, as they wanted clarification and Omtzigt reacted furiously. After the commotion about the photo, Ollongren resigned her position and was succeeded by minister for medical care and sport Tamara van Ark.
Prime Minister Rutte’s initial reaction was that he had said nothing about Omtzigt in the exploration, and Minister Ollongren confirmed this. Then during the debate with the Parliament the following day, he said he remembered wrongly and in fact they did talk about MP Omtzigt. The entire opposition is demanding his departure, with coalition partners also very critical, but Prime Minister Rutte will not step down on his own volition despite his role in the damaging start of the formation. Thanks to the coalition parties, he survived a motion of no-confidence which was voted on at 3:00 in the morning. Another motion, one of censure, was supported by almost the entire Parliament. Rutte responded briefly to the votes after the debate that he has clearly heard the Parliament’s message and that he takes it very much to heart, and that he is going to do his best to regain trust.