By the end of this day we will know who has won the Dutch elections.
According to the polls yesterday current prime minister Mark Rutte of the liberal VVD is perceived to ‘beat’ nationalist and anti-Islam campaigner Geert Wilders of the PVV. However, recent history has shown that strange things can happen in politics. All the Dutch can do is vote and wait. Tick-tock, tick-tock.
Rutte and Wilders find themselves on opposite sides of the political spectrum, also when it comes to energy. Where Rutte signed the Paris agreement last year and believes in finding ways of innovating within oil and gas, while also investing in renewable energy to meet the required target. He believes this can only be done together with the EU.
Wilders on the other hand would rather leave the EU and would prefer to no longer invest in things such as wind turbines or innovation, according to his election program.
Many Dutch Political parties feel strongly about energy, with D66 (liberal-progressive), ChristenUnie, GroenLinks (green-left) and Partij voor de Dieren stating ambitious climate goals in their election programs. Though there are differences to be found. On the other hand SP (the Socialist party) and Partij van de Arbeid (centre-left Labour party), though pro-Paris Agreement are less concrete in their plans. Many parties also want to heavily bring back the gas production in the Groningen field in the North of the Netherlands.
What we do need to remember is that this is not the same neck-and-neck race as is in, for instance, the United States of America. The Dutch are voting and electing a parliament. Dutch parliament houses 150 MPs which entails that 76 seats are required to form a majority. This has never been done and as such the Netherlands has been governed by coalitions for more than a century. When a coalition has been formed after these elections, only then will the Dutch know what the world will look like for the next years to come.
Netherlands holds course with a few surprises
A victory for Mark Rutte of the VVD, who won 33 seats in Parliament followed by far-right PVV leader Geert wilders with 20 seats.
As Rutte stated last night: “We can continue following the course we set out.” Whilst also celebrating democracy with the country having spoken out against the wrong kind of populism. As the BBC states on their website: “The result appears to contradict suggestions that the EU is falling apart, with significant successes for the pro-EU GroenLinks (Green-Left) with 16 seats and D66 (liberal-progressive) with 19 seats.”
A challenging road lies ahead for Rutte who has to form a coalition as the VVD needs at least three other parties to claim a majority in parliament. It would be safe to assume the smaller parties can now play a very significant role. Next to that, what will this coalition mean for the (renewable) energy-mix? We will hopefully know soon enough. For now, all political eyes turn to France and Germany.
Article by Rebecca van den Berge – McFedries