Pro-farmer and open-border critic Geert Wilders appears in the mix to win the most parliamentary seats ahead of Wednesday’s national election, with one poll showing him tied for the lead.
A Maurice de Hond survey shows Wilders’ Party for Freedom (PPV) projected to win 26 seats, which ties the co-leading People’s Party for Freedom and Democracy (VVD).
Wilders is a vocal supporter of Dutch Farmers who have been threatened to the point of a mandatory farm buy-back scheme by the recently collapsed Rutte Government.
“Proud of our farmers. Let’s cherish them and adapt national and EU rules to preserve them!” the PPV leader stated on Monday. Wilders also pointed to another poll that shows his party sits one seat off from the projected lead.
The Netherlands’ national election includes 26 political parties, with polls indicating that around 17 of them will make it to the 150-seat parliament.
It’s thus difficult to predict how the election will shift the country, especially given the potential for a coalition government.
Dutch Farmers’ future on the line
Nonetheless, the more seats Wilders’ PPV wins, the more hope farmers will have. Wilders is a strong supporter of the over 40,000 Dutch farmers who took to the streets last year to express their grievances, and him being part of the coalition in power would bode well for farmers.
Dutch farmers emit disproportionately high ammonia emissions and nitrous oxide from intensive livestock farming. To comply with the EU’s nature preservation rules, the Rutte Government dealt farmers with increasing environmental regulations. Rutte’s now-collapsed government recently implemented a mandatory buyback scheme to purchase 3000 farms.
Provincial win for farmers came in March
Making matters more intriguing is the recent provincial elections, which took Rutte’s provincial party down a peg after The Dutch Farmers Citizens Movement (BBB) won the most seats.
Then in July, Dutch PM Mark Rutte announced he was quitting politics after his government collapsed over a disagreement with coalition parties over how many asylum seekers their country should take in each year.
Rutte actually wanted to take in less, and the coalition subsequently fell apart.
Other more conservative parties, such as Wilders’ PPV, have strongly opposed the amount of migrants the Netherlands currently takes in and want to curb migration numbers even more than Rutte.