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#14995138
Mark Rutte’s last stand

A new breed of populists are on track to strip the Dutch prime minister of his majority.

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THE HAGUE — Mark Rutte painted his last election victory as a battle between the “right” and “wrong kind of populism.” Thousands of journalists were there in 2017 to watch him win. Two years on, the journalists are mostly gone, but the Dutch prime minister is back in ring — and this time he may not emerge victorious. Elections on March 20 will see Dutch voters choose new regional parliaments, which will in turn determine the makeup of the new Dutch senate. Polls suggest Rutte’s administration is on track to lose its majority in the chamber by a large margin, leaving the government in limbo.

The populist threat Rutte claimed to have ring-fenced in the last election hasn’t gone away; it has transformed into something new and more dangerous for the Dutch leader. The biggest source of danger is the rapid rise of the Forum voor Democratie (Forum for Democracy), led by 36-year-old Thierry Baudet. In 2017, the right-wing populist party won only two seats in the national parliament. This year, it is slated to become the country’s third or fourth largest party, according to the latest Dutch poll of polls.

Baudet has changed the image of right-wing populism in the country, which, until 2017, was dominated by far-right rabble-rouser Geert Wilders, whose harsh language and anti-intellectual approach to politics — he blames to the “elite” for pretty much everything — became his trademark. Baudet’s party hews relatively closely to Wilders when it comes to policy: Though it is less fervently anti-Islam, it shares Wilders’ anti-immigration and Euroskeptic stance. But their styles couldn’t be more different. Baudet is himself a member of the so-called elite: He studied political sciences and law and worked as columnist for NRC Handelsblad and as an editorial adviser for the high-brow Sunday talk show “Buitenhof.” He’s chosen to target highly educated voters and focus on cultural issues: He wants to get rid of “the infiltration” of the left in areas like public service, media and education. In contrast to Wilders, who mostly refuses to be interviewed by mainstream media and resorts to Twitter as his main outlet, Baudet runs a sophisticated social media operation and appears regularly on popular TV talk shows, for whom he’s become somewhat of a ratings magnet. In parliament, he likes to suggest that no politician has the brains to compete with his depth of knowledge. Some of his former friends have observed that the biggest risk to Baudet’s political career is Baudet himself.

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Thierry Baudet, leader of the Dutch Forum for Democracy party | Robin van Huijsen/EPA-EFE

With support for Baudet running 8 to 10 percent ahead of the March vote, Rutte and his allies are starting to get nervous. Polls suggest Rutte’s VVD will remain the largest party in parliament by a slim margin, but with Wilders in second place, the populists' share could make up as much as 25 percent of the vote — their best result ever. The real difficulty for Rutte’s party is that it is being torn apart: The party faces growing competition on the right while its coalition partners are pushing the government to the left on important policies.

Last year, Rutte had to withdraw a tax proposal that would have benefited multinational companies planning to move headquarters from the United Kingdom to the Netherlands after Brexit. More recently, the party withdrew its opposition to amnesty for a group of migrant children. It was also backed into supporting the coalition in buying a “strategic” stake in AirFrance-KLM, despite having always taken the position that government should stay out of business as a matter of principle. Skeptics have long questioned whether the current government can hold the center of Dutch politics. At this point, polling suggests that the center will be blown away next week. The Christian Democratic Appeal (CDA) and liberal Democrats 66 both run the risk of losing half of their vote. (Rutte’s third partner, a small Christian party, CU, is doing well.)

All may not be lost, however; the governing parties may yet survive. Elections for provinces are known for their low turnout, with populist voters less likely to vote. And Baudet, who has very little experience in politics, is likely to have trouble living up to expectations in the final stages of the campaign. Last week, he suddenly wavered on his long-standing position that the Dutch should leave the EU, which gave some in government fresh hope that he might not be up to the task. But if Baudet and Wilders stand their ground, things are going to be complicated for the administration and Rutte’s party.

It is all but certain that the populist duo will not help the government in regaining a Senate majority. Both reject, for example, the need for climate change policies, a major issue the government has promised to tackle. The current four-party coalition earlier agreed to decide this spring on a set of policies to reduce carbon emissions by 49 percent in 2030. And while a boost in the polls for Dutch populists is unlikely to translate into governing power in the March election, it will mean that the administration’s best — and perhaps only — option for holding on is to work with the Greens in the senate. Indeed, the Greens appear to be heading for a big win. They could become the third largest party in the country behind VVD and Wilders' far-right party — and the main political force on the left. Their leader Jesse Klaver — another young and upcoming politician — has a good personal relationship with Rutte, but his party has cultivated an image for being tough on climate change. Klaver won’t be able to accept a weak deal that doesn’t match its climate ambitions.

In Klaver, Rutte seems to have spotted a way out of his predicament. In a surprise move a week before election day, the prime minister announced that his coalition is willing to accept two of the most important climate policy proposals of the Greens. The details are to be worked out after the election, when the big question will be if Rutte’s already grumpy party can digest a move further to the left on climate change. The alternative for Rutte is grim. It would leave his government unable to pursue significant new policies on the issue, with the likely outcome that it will go down later this year. If that happens, everything will be uncertain in Dutch politics, including the prime minister’s job. Rutte’s second battle with “the wrong kind of populism” is likely to be far more consequential than his first one.



Result:

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In case people get confused by the number of parties, the populists mentioned in the article are the second bar from the right.


Finally, cannot resist this image of Baudet:

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User avatar
By Ter
#14995144
Dutch PM loses senate majority to populists - exit poll

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The governing centre-right coalition in the Netherlands is set to lose its senate majority after a populist party surged in provincial elections.

Exit polls indicated the anti-immigration Forum for Democracy would become the second biggest party in the upper house of parliament.

It comes days after a suspected terror attack in Utrecht.

Addressing supporters, party leader Thierry Baudet blasted the immigration policies of Prime Minister Mark Rutte.

"Successive Rutte governments have left our borders wide open, letting in hundreds of thousands of people with cultures completely different to ours," he told the cheering crowd.

Mr Baudet, who was criticised for continuing to campaign after Monday's shooting on a tram, said Dutch people were being "destroyed by the people who are supposed to be protecting us".

Analysts say he may team up with the anti-Islam Freedom Party, led by far-right politician Geert Wilders.

Mr Rutte will now need the support of other parties to pass legislation.

An exit poll by leading broadcaster NOS suggested the coalition led by Mr Rutte's VVD party would be cut from 38 to 31 seats in the 75-seat senate. The Forum for Democracy was predicted to win 10 seats while the Freedom Party looked set to win six, down from nine.

Mr Rutte told his supporters they were "going to have to get to work".

"We have to talk with other parties so we can continue to lead this country well," he said.

Three people were killed and three others seriously wounded in Monday's attack in Utrecht. The chief suspect, Turkish born Gokmen Tanis, remains in custody.

On Wednesday, prosecutors said a letter found in the gunman's getaway car was among the reasons why a terrorist motive was being considered.

No connection has so far been found between Mr Tanis and the victims of the attack.

https://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-47648086

When will the EU bosses realise that their immigration policies are ruining the whole EU castle ?
Curtailing free speech is not going to turn the tide.
#14995146
As it looks now, FvD (Forum for Democracy) and Rutte's VVD both won 12 seats (out of 75) in the senate but the former with more votes.
This surely is a big breakthrough of right-wing populism in the Netherlands. Thierry Baudet accomplished what Geert Wilders couldn't.
User avatar
By Ter
#14995148
I just saw a news item that FvD got 13 seats and became the biggest party in The Netherlands.
Bravo Merkel, bravo Rutte.

The people are fed up and payback is here.
#14995160
Ter wrote:I just saw a news item that FvD got 13 seats and became the biggest party in The Netherlands.
Bravo Merkel, bravo Rutte.

The people are fed up and payback is here.


Why are you blaming the migration policy on the EU, right now the migration policy is not governed by the EU. The policy is government by nation states :eh:
And there is no real answer to it from Nation state actors also. A EU wide reform is the only stable and possible fix.
User avatar
By Ter
#14995163
JohnRawls wrote:Why are you blaming the migration policy on the EU, right now the migration policy is not governed by the EU. The policy is government by nation states :eh:
And there is no real answer to it from Nation state actors also. A EU wide reform is the only stable and possible fix.


Are you serious to hide behind that argument ?
In what capacity did Frau Merkel allow millions of Muslim migrants to enter the EU?
As Chancellor of Germany, as a private person, or as the most influential political figure in the EU ?
Are you familiar with the free movement of people within the EU?
Are you aware that many migrants immediately moved to the countries with the most generous welfare handouts ? They could easily do that because thanks to the EU there were no borders left to speak of.
Did you know that the EU assigned quotas for EU member states to accept "asylum seeker" migrants ?
That the EU is severely criticising countries like Hungary who refuse those migrants ?
How long will it take for the migrants to obtain an EU citizenship, in which case they can move within the EU wherever they please (the UK just got out before that will happen)

Of course there is an answer available for the nation states. Look at Italy, look at Hungary.
It is not very palatable, agreed, but in times of necessity, harsh measures should be taken.

I find it the summum of hypocrisy that Europhiles like you use the migrant catastrophe to try and federalise Europe even more than it is today.

Merkel said "Wir schaffen dass", but actually she should now say "Ich habe den EU kaput gemacht"
#14995164
Ter wrote:Are you serious to hide behind that argument ?
In what capacity did Frau Merkel allow millions of Muslim migrants to enter the EU?
As Chancellor of Germany, as a private person, or as the most influential political figure in the EU ?
Are you familiar with the free movement of people within the EU?
Are you aware that many migrants immediately moved to the countries with the most generous welfare handouts ? They could easily do that because thanks to the EU there were no borders left to speak of.
Did you know that the EU assigned quotas for EU member states to accept "asylum seeker" migrants ?
That the EU is severely criticising countries like Hungary who refuse those migrants ?
How long will it take for the migrants to obtain an EU citizenship, in which case they can move within the EU wherever they please (the UK just got out before that will happen)

Of course there is an answer available for the nation states. Look at Italy, look at Hungary.
It is not very palatable, agreed, but in times of necessity, harsh measures should be taken.

I find it the summum of hypocrisy that Europhiles like you use the migrant catastrophe to try and federalise Europe even more than it is today.

Merkel said "Wir schaffen dass", but actually she should now say "Ich habe den EU kaput gemacht"


Merkel is the Chancelor of Germany. She is not a representative of the EU institutions though. The problem is that you confuse one for the other. EU policy of free migration is for European citizens and not migrants.

The EU tried to provide a patch work that failed after the situation happened. The problem is that we are too focused on quotas that are not a bad thing but they are useless without enforcement. We need to start enforcing quotas. This is not going to happen without a EU wide solution.

So the best outcome would be for the EU to implement a proper quota policy with states taking responsibility for immigrants that they take in so they pay for both moving them to your own country and intergrating them according to those quotas. Obviously quotas can be 0 if any state chooses so. After the quotas are filled we do not let anybody in. Immigrants should be tied to the state they were accepted to and their migration within the EU should be limited. This is the ideal scenario for me. Not possible without EU wide reform though.

I think if there was no Brexit, we would be discussing this instead of Brexit. But Brexit will end soon so all will be back on track.
User avatar
By Ter
#14995165
JohnRawls wrote:So the best outcome would be for the EU to implement a proper quota policy with states taking responsibility for immigrants that they take in so they pay for both moving them to your own country and intergrating them according to those quotas. Obviously quotas can be 0 if any state chooses so. After the quotas are filled we do not let anybody in. Immigrants should be tied to the state they were accepted to and their migration within the EU should be limited. This is the ideal scenario for me. Not possible without EU wide reform though.

With all due respect, I think that is bullshit.
We have millions of economic migrants in Europe as we speak and most of them should be sent back home, sito presto.
The kind of soft solutions you propose are the reason the populist parties are going from strength to strength.
The people are fed up.
I live thousands of miles away from Europe and yet it breaks my heart to see Europe destroyed by the massive influx of people who do not share any cultural or religious or moral value with the indigenous population.
It makes so many people hold their noses and vote for quasi fascist political parties.
#14995167
Ter wrote:With all due respect, I think that is bullshit.


Ter, with all due respect, your bullshit is what is proper bullshit. The immigrants are not the EU's fault, it is the fault of the countries that create migrants by making wars non-stop in the Middle-East. Wars that you support and cheer as they are against Muslims. Your heart break statement is quite hilarious, you are enjoying this more than anyone but your hope is misplaced that Euro populists are what you think they are.

The fact that you are a Jewish immigrant in a Muslim country and you blame Germany(and by erroneous extension and association the EU as a whole) for taking in Muslim war refugees out of kindness is an irony that seems totally lost on you. It seems to me that zionism and anti-Europeanism have removed your reasoning faculties.
#14995169
Ter wrote:With all due respect, I think that is bullshit.
We have millions of economic migrants in Europe as we speak and most of them should be sent back home, sito presto.
The kind of soft solutions you propose are the reason the populist parties are going from strength to strength.
The people are fed up.
I live thousands of miles away from Europe and yet it breaks my heart to see Europe destroyed by the massive influx of people who do not share any cultural or religious or moral value with the indigenous population.
It makes so many people hold their noses and vote for quasi fascist political parties.


Perhaps. I do not deny that you solution is also a solution.
Just in the greater scheme of things migration is both a cultural/societal issue as much as a economic issue. With unemployment in many EU countries being around 5-4% immigrants are actually needed because we are out of manpower and our unemployment is structural. (Estonia for example is at 4.2% at end of 2018 and around 3.5-3.9 right now which is less than the US). So our sectors need more IT specialists, etc that we have no clue where to get from for 1 or 2 years now.

But there are also countries with high unemployment in which i do agree that migrants are not needed. It is an issue with 2 sides and one solution might not be possible. So a flexible policy is needed in this regard where a country can decide what to do in a coordinated manner along with the rest of Europe.
User avatar
By Ter
#14995173
noemon wrote:Ter, with all due respect, your bullshit is what is proper bullshit.

When you have no arguments, insults are called for.

noemon wrote:The immigrants are not the EU's fault, it is the fault of the countries that create migrants by making wars non-stop in the Middle-East.

Is this POD talking ?
The Muslim asylum seekers could be temporarily housed in neighbouring Muslim-majority countries, there was no need to integrate them into Europe permanently. I say permanently because they will normally not be going back, ever.

noemon wrote: It seems to me that zionism and anti-Europeanism has removed your reasoning faculties.

It seems to me that you fall back on personal insults when you have no arguments.
I will not reciprocate by mentioning your personal situation and reasons to be against Brexit for instance.

@JohnRawls
Finally we can agree on a couple of things, thank you.
I do dispute the economic argument. I am not an economist but there must be ways that keep a country going without constant population icrease and import of labour.
#14995176
Ter wrote:When you have no arguments, insults are called for.


Is this POD talking ?
The Muslim asylum seekers could be temporarily housed in neighbouring Muslim-majority countries, there was no need to integrate them into Europe permanently. I say permanently because they will normally not be going back, ever.


It seems to me that you fall back on personal insults when you have no arguments.
I will not reciprocate by mentioning your personal situation and reasons to be against Brexit for instance.

@JohnRawls
Finally we can agree on a couple of things, thank you.
I do dispute the economic argument. I am not an economist but there must be ways that keep a country going without constant population icrease and import of labour.


It is actually not a population increase. In a sense all of the developed countries are in a demographic black hole of sorts with our populations shrinking. The only country that has it a bit under control is the US with a big but though. The next generation after the millenials is seeing the same decline as the rest of the world. Honestly the millenial generation seem to be an abnormality due to the boomer generation in the US being so large.

Japan is having it exceptionally rough regarding this. Although China is not developed, it is in the most dire situation also regarding this. Legit increase in population is only happening in Africa and some other underdeveloped places. Most of the modern increases are due to the aging population instead of them dying off younger. (If you stop this process then the population will go down or at best remain the same but this is an absurd argument)
User avatar
By Ter
#14995177
@JohnRawls
Yes, I get what you are saying.
But why should it always be bad for a population to be shrinking ?
I am aware of the argument about the pensions for the aged, but there are many ways to pay for that.
A shrinking population can be beneficial for the natural environment, could be beneficial for tourism, there could be natural resources available to sell (Norway for instance has oil and maritime resources).
As I said, I am not an economist, but I believe alternatives should be researched.
#14995180
Ter wrote:When you have no arguments, insults are called for.


That is hilarious for someone who expressed the exact same words in the previous post. :lol: You should tell this to yourself first and foremost before you start victimising yourself due to your lack of argument.

Is this POD talking ?
The Muslim asylum seekers could be temporarily housed in neighbouring Muslim-majority countries, there was no need to integrate them into Europe permanently. I say permanently because they will normally not be going back, ever.


Are you asking Europe to enforce refugee concentration camps in foreign countries outside Europe? :lol:

Besides that is exactly what the EU did with Turkey.

So the fault lies with Europe because it is not imposing refugee concentration camps in foreign territory but not on the countries at war? :roll:

It seems to me that you fall back on personal insults when you have no arguments.
I will not reciprocate by mentioning your personal situation and reasons to be against Brexit for instance.


I don't care what you think about me being a Greek person in the UK or however you want to spin that to go off-topic(Brexit) due to your lack of argument. Feel free however to spin it as you like. The fact is you are not fooling anybody, and if you were not expressing such ridiculous statements "how it breaks your heart" to see Muslims finding refuge in Europe from the wars that you are cheering for while at the same time giving rise to your beloved right-wing populists, I would not have called you out on it.
User avatar
By Ter
#14995182
noemon wrote:Are you asking Europe to enforce refugee concentration camps in foreign countries outside Europe?

You mean refugee camps ? Yes.
Why should they come to Europe ? They are not European, do not share any values with Europeans.
Not culturally, religiously or morally, as I said earlier.
But I don't get any answers to those questions of course.

noemon wrote:I don't give a crap what you think about me being a Greek person in the UK or however you want to spin that to go off-topic(Brexit) due to your lack of argument.

You were the first to make it personal, by mentioning what you thought was my personal situation.
I do not go down that hatch.

But OK, I understand you are in a bad mood seeing your precious EU project going down the drain a little more with every election result, every opinion poll, every anti-Macron demonstration, and so on.
So keep on saying how ridiculous I am, how hilarious my arguments are, your usual m.o.
#14995184
Ter wrote:You mean refugee camps ? Yes.
Why should they come to Europe ? They are not European, do not share any values with Europeans.
Not culturally, religiously or morally, as I said earlier.
But I don't get any answers to those questions of course.


Why do you not ask yourself the same question? Why have you immigrated to a Muslim country? you clearly share nothing with these people and in fact you have an evident antipathy to Muslims but obviously you have made a choice which I respect either for work or business or whatever, just like I have made a choice which I hope people shall respect but you do not seem to respect not only other people's choices to make the same decision you did but you do not even respect a sovereign nation's(Germany's) choice to accommodate refugees and you are trying to weaponise this issue in order to attack Europe as a whole.

You were the first to make it personal, by mentioning what you thought was my personal situation.


It is not personal at all as it is very relative to the argument you are making. You are blaming Germany for taking in war-refugees while at the same time you will chastise Europe for its treatment against Jewish people and you will use that bad treatment to justify the Jewish migration & colonisation of Palestine as well as its ongoing ethnic-replacement to put it as mildly as possible. This is not a personal attack on you at all, it is hard evidence that your argument is the kind of bullshit that you do not even believe yourself.
User avatar
By Ter
#14995187
noemon wrote:You are blaming Germany for taking in war-refugees

My problem with that is that whenever those migrants become German citizens, they can go and live in any other EU country because of the freedom of movement principle.

Your straw man of suddenly talking about Israel is not worth a reply.
Whatever you say, Boss.
#14995188
Ter wrote:My problem with that is that whenever those migrants become German citizens, they can go and live in any other EU country because of the freedom of movement principle.


Germany has very strict controls of who becomes a German citizen. But anyway what are you suggesting that Germany does with Muslims that it treats them separately than say Jews or Christians or Hindus? That it creates a separate category for people? and instead of making them wear stars, she should make them "wear" crescent moons on a legal level?

Your straw man of suddenly talking about Israel is not worth a reply.
Whatever you say, Boss.


It is not a straw-man at all to demonstrate your lack of consistency Ter. Clearly you cannot have it both ways, mate.
#14995195
Ter, so you're an immigrant to a muslim country but you're against muslim immigration into other countries? bit hypocritical no?

I notice you never say which country you're from BTW, why is that?

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