2023 Dutch general election

2023 Dutch general election
Netherlands
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All 150 seats in the House of Representatives
76 seats needed for a majority
Turnout77.75% (Decrease 0.96pp)
Party Leader % Seats +/–
PVV Geert Wilders 23.49 37 +20
GL/PvdA Frans Timmermans 15.75 25 +8
VVD Dilan Yeşilgöz 15.24 24 −10
NSC Pieter Omtzigt 12.88 20 New
D66 Rob Jetten 6.29 9 −15
BBB Caroline van der Plas 4.65 7 +6
CDA Henri Bontenbal 3.31 5 −10
SP Lilian Marijnissen 3.15 5 −4
DENK Stephan van Baarle 2.37 3 0
PvdD Esther Ouwehand 2.25 3 −3
FvD Thierry Baudet 2.23 3 −5
SGP Chris Stoffer 2.08 3 0
CU Mirjam Bikker 2.04 3 −2
Volt Laurens Dassen 1.71 2 −1
JA21 Joost Eerdmans 0.68 1 −2
This lists parties that won seats. See the complete results below.
Most voted-for party by municipality
Cabinet before Cabinet after
Fourth Rutte cabinet
VVDD66CDA–CU
TBD

Early general elections were held in the Netherlands on 22 November 2023 to elect the members of the House of Representatives.[1][2] The elections had been expected to be held in 2025 but a snap election was called after the fourth Rutte cabinet collapsed on 7 July 2023 due to immigration policy disagreements between the coalition parties.[3] The incumbent Prime Minister Mark Rutte announced that he would not lead his party into the election and that he would retire from politics.[4]

In what was described as "one of the biggest political upsets in Dutch politics since World War II",[5] the right-wing populist Party for Freedom (PVV), led by Geert Wilders, won 37 seats in the 150-seat House of Representatives, becoming the largest party for the first time.[5][6][7] All four parties of the incumbent coalition government suffered losses.[8]

After the election, a cabinet formation started to determine which parties will form the coalition government.

Background

The 2021 Dutch general election resulted in the formation of the fourth Rutte cabinet, consisting of a coalition of the People's Party for Freedom and Democracy (VVD), Democrats 66 (D66), Christian Democratic Appeal (CDA) and the Christian Union (CU). Mark Rutte, leader of VVD, continued in his role as prime minister.[9]

Since 2019, the government has had the intention to limit the human impact on the nitrogen cycle. Its nitrogen bill has met resistance from several opposition parties including the Farmer–Citizen Movement (BBB), which was founded in 2019 and entered the House of Representatives with one seat in 2021. The 2023 Dutch provincial elections, which were won by the BBB, led to heavy losses for the ruling coalition. Since the provincial councils indirectly elect the Dutch Senate,[10] it meant that the ruling coalition had to face more difficulty passing legislation.[11]

The government resigned on 7 July 2023 after the four parties failed to agree on a proposed limitation of family reunification for refugees fleeing armed conflict.[3][12] The coalition government led by Mark Rutte collapsed ahead of the anticipated November elections due to irreconcilable disagreements on migration issues.[13] The dispute arose from Rutte's proposal to tighten restrictions on the reunification of asylum seekers' families, aiming to reduce the number of migrants following a previous scandal involving overcrowded migration centers. CDA supported Rutte's proposal, while the opposition of CU and D66 led to a breakdown in negotiations. The parties decided unanimously that they could not remain together in the coalition.[14][15][16][17] The king asked that the prime minister and his government continue to carry out their duties in a caretaker capacity.[18] This could have been seen as a move by Rutte to keep migration on the center stage as his party was disunited on his nitrogen policies.[19]

Leadership changes

On 10 July 2023, Prime Minister Mark Rutte announced he would not run again as lead candidate for the VVD, and leave politics when a new cabinet would be sworn in. Other party leaders and parliamentary leaders also announced they would not return, including Sigrid Kaag (D66), Wopke Hoekstra, Pieter Heerma (both CDA),[20] Attje Kuiken (PvdA),[21] Kees van der Staaij (SGP),[22] Farid Azarkan (DENK),[23] Liane den Haan (independent),[24] Nilüfer Gündoğan (independent),[25] and Sylvana Simons (BIJ1).[26] Jesse Klaver announced that, although he wanted to continue as member of parliament, he would not be candidate for leader of the Labour Party–GroenLinks alliance. Additionally, Vera Bergkamp, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, did not stand for reelection.[27]

Electoral system

Ballot of the 2023 Dutch general election

Pursuant to articles C.1, C.2 and C.3 of the electoral law, elections for the House of Representatives take place every four years in March, unless a snap election is called. The 150 members of the House of Representatives are elected by open list proportional representation. The number of seats per list is determined using the D'Hondt method. A list must receive a number of votes equal to or exceeding the Hare quota (1 full seat) in order to qualify for seat distribution, meaning there is an electoral threshold of 0.67%.[28] Voters have the option to cast a preferential vote. The seats won by a list are first allocated to the candidates who, in preferential votes, have received at least 25% of the Hare quota (effectively ¼ of a seat or 0.17% of the total votes), regardless of their placement on the electoral list. If multiple candidates from a list pass this threshold, their ordering is determined based on the number of votes received. Any remaining seats are allocated to candidates according to their position on the electoral list.[29][30]

Political parties and lead candidates

The following parties participated in the election and were on the ballot:

List Party Main ideology Lead candidate 2021 result Districts Ref.
1 People's Party for Freedom and Democracy VVD Conservative liberalism Dilan Yeşilgöz 21.87% (34 seats) 20 [31]
2 Democrats 66 D66 Social liberalism Rob Jetten 15.02% (24 seats) 20 [32]
3 GL/PvdA Social democracy, green politics Frans Timmermans 10.88% (17 seats)[a] 20 [33][34]
4 Party for Freedom PVV Nationalism, right-wing populism Geert Wilders 10.79% (17 seats) 20 [35]
5 Christian Democratic Appeal CDA Christian democracy Henri Bontenbal 9.50% (15 seats) 20 [36][37]
6 Socialist Party SP Democratic socialism, left-wing populism Lilian Marijnissen 5.98% (9 seats) 20 [38]
7 Forum for Democracy FVD National conservatism, right-wing populism Thierry Baudet 5.02% (8 seats) 20 [39]
8 Party for the Animals PvdD Environmentalism, Animal rights advocacy Esther Ouwehand 3.84% (6 seats) 20 [40]
9 Christian Union CU Christian democracy Mirjam Bikker 3.37% (5 seats) 20 [41]
10 Volt Netherlands Volt Eurofederalism Laurens Dassen 2.42% (3 seats) 20 [42][43]
11 JA21 JA21 Conservative liberalism, right-wing populism Joost Eerdmans 2.37% (3 seats) 20 [44]
12 Reformed Political Party SGP Christian right Chris Stoffer 2.07% (3 seats) 20 [45]
13 DENK DENK Minority interests Stephan van Baarle 2.03% (3 seats) 20 [46]
14 50PLUS 50+ Pensioners' interests Gerard van Hooft 1.02% (1 seat) 20 [47]
15 Farmer–Citizen Movement BBB Agrarianism Caroline van der Plas 1.00% (1 seat) 20 [48]
16 BIJ1 BIJ1 Anti-racism Edson Olf 0.84% (1 seat) 20 [49][50]
17
Pirate Party–The Greens
  • Pirate Party
  • The Greens
PPNL/DG Pirate politics, green politics Mark van Treuren 0.22% (0 seats)[b] 20 [51][52]
18 Interest of the Netherlands BVNL Right-wing populism, conservative liberalism Wybren van Haga 20 [53]
19 New Social Contract NSC Christian democracy Pieter Omtzigt 20 [54]
20 Splinter SPL Anti-identity politics Femke Merel van Kooten-Arissen 0.29% (0 seats) 20 [55]
21 Libertarian Party LP Libertarianism Tom van Lamoen 0.05% (0 seats) 19 [56]
22 LEF – For the New Generation LEF Youth politics Daniël van Duijn 19 [57]
23 Together for the Netherlands SvN Right-wing populism Michel Reijinga 19 [58][59]
24 Netherlands with a Plan NLPLAN Participatory democracy Kok Kuen Chan 17 [60]
25 Party for Sports PvdS Health promotion Annemarie van Duivenboden 11 [61]
26 Political Party for Basic Income PPvB Universal basic income advocacy Sepp Hannen 8 [62]

Campaign

Debates

Dutch general election debates, 2023
Date Organisers Channel Venue  P  Present   I  Invited   NI  Not invited   A  Absent   Ref.
22 October College Tour NPO 3 Vrije Universiteit, Amsterdam NI NI NI NI NI NI NI NI P NI NI P NI P NI NI P [63]
30 October GL/PvdA, NSC YouTube Luxor Live, Arnhem NI NI NI NI NI NI NI NI P NI NI P NI NI NI NI NI [64][65]
3 November NOS NPO Radio 1 Nieuwspoort, The Hague P P P P P P P P A P P P P P P P P [66]
5 November RTL Nieuws RTL 4 Felix Meritis, Amsterdam NI NI NI NI NI NI NI NI P NI NI P NI NI NI NI P [67]
12 November NI NI NI NI NI P P NI A P NI A NI P NI P P [68]
16 November Talpa TV SBS6 Media Park, Hilversum NI NI NI NI NI NI NI NI P NI NI P NI NI NI P P [69]
17 November ND Verkiezingsdebat YouTube De Basiliek, Veenendaal NI P P NI NI NI NI NI NI NI P NI NI NI NI NI NI [70]
17 November SP, NSC YouTube Unknown NI NI NI NI NI NI P NI P NI NI NI NI NI NI NI NI [71]
17 November EenVandaag NPO 1 Media Park, Hilversum NI P P NI NI NI P NI NI NI NI NI NI NI NI NI NI [72]
18 November NI NI NI P P NI NI NI NI NI NI NI P NI NI NI NI [72]
18 November Omroep Brabant,
Omroep Zeeland, L1
Evoluon, Eindhoven NI NI P NI NI P P NI A P NI A NI P NI P P [73]
19 November Jeugdjournaal NPO 3 Media Park, Hilversum NI NI P NI NI P NI NI A NI NI P NI P NI P P [66]
20 November EenVandaag NPO 1 Ahoy, Rotterdam NI NI NI NI NI P NI NI P NI NI P NI P NI P P [72]
21 November NOS B67, The Hague P P NI P P NI NI P NI NI P NI P NI P NI NI [66]
NI NI P NI NI P P NI P P NI P NI P NI P P [66]

NOS op 3 debates

In addition to the conventional debates, a series of debates between two or three party leaders were hosted by news program NOS op 3. The debates are broadcast through the programme's media outlets, such as radio and YouTube. The debates were broadcast in real-time and were held with a select group of young people present, who, in addition to the viewers on the YouTube live stream, asked the candidates various questions.[74]

Assaults and attacks on Thierry Baudet

Thierry Baudet, founder and leader of the far-right[75] Forum for Democracy (FvD) was attacked with an umbrella upon his arrival at Ghent University on 26 October 2023,[76][77] resulting in a mild concussion.

On 20 November, Baudet was beaten with a beer bottle at a campaign event in Groningen, and was later hospitalised. Numerous politicians denounced the attack, with Mark Rutte stating that the attack was "totally unacceptable".[78][79] The antifascist far-left group AFA Noord claimed responsibility for the attack.[80][81]

Opinion polls

The Farmer–Citizen Movement (BBB) established a lead in the polls following its victory in the 2023 Dutch provincial elections, but started to decline in May 2023, and further declined when Pieter Omtzigt announced he would contest the election with his newly established party New Social Contract (NSC), which immediately performed well in the polls at the expense of BBB.[82] In the last polls before the election, NSC declined because it was unclear whether Pieter Omtzigt was willing to serve as prime minister should his party win the election. Their voters mostly diverted to VVD and PVV.[83]

Results

Delft City Hall on election day 2023

Geert Wilders' PVV won 37 seats of the 150-seat parliament, more than doubling their seats from the previous election in 2021. The left-leaning GroenLinks–PvdA (GL-PvdA) finished second with 25 seats. The VVD party ended third with 24 seats. NSC came fourth with 20 seats.[7]

PartyVotes%Seats+/–
Party for Freedom2,450,87823.4937+20
GroenLinks–PvdA1,643,07315.7525+8
People's Party for Freedom and Democracy1,589,51915.2424−10
New Social Contract1,343,28712.8820New
Democrats 66656,2926.299−15
Farmer–Citizen Movement485,5514.657+6
Christian Democratic Appeal345,8223.315−10
Socialist Party328,2253.155–4
DENK246,7652.3730
Party for the Animals235,1482.253−3
Forum for Democracy232,9632.233−5
Reformed Political Party217,2702.0830
Christian Union212,5322.043−2
Volt Netherlands178,8021.712−1
JA2171,3450.681−2
Belang van Nederland52,9130.510New
50PLUS51,0430.490−1
BIJ144,2530.420−1
Splinter12,8380.1200
Pirate Party–The Greens9,1170.0900
Netherlands with a Plan5,4870.050New
Together for the Netherlands5,3250.050New
LEF – For the New Generation5,1220.050New
Libertarian Party4,1520.0400
Party for Sports3,9660.040New
Political Party for Basic Income1,0380.010New
Total10,432,726100.001500
Valid votes10,432,72699.59
Invalid votes19,6550.19
Blank votes22,8220.22
Total votes10,475,203100.00
Registered voters/turnout13,473,75077.75
Source: Kiesraad

By province

Results by province[84]
Province PVV GL-
PvdA
VVD NSC D66 BBB CDA SP DENK FvD PvdD SGP CU Volt JA21 Others
 Drenthe 26.0 14.0 12.6 16.0 4.5 8.8 3.7 3.3 0.5 2.3 1.8 0.8 2.6 1.0 0.6 0.8
 Flevoland 26.6 11.8 14.8 12.2 4.5 5.2 2.5 3.2 3.3 3.3 1.9 3.8 2.6 1.1 0.7 2.6
 Friesland 24.5 14.6 11.2 16.3 4.3 8.3 5.3 3.4 0.4 2.7 1.8 1.0 2.7 0.9 0.7 1.7
 Gelderland 22.2 15.4 14.4 13.2 5.9 6.2 3.6 2.9 1.4 2.0 2.2 4.1 2.8 1.5 0.6 1.5
 Groningen 21.8 20.2 9.9 14.6 5.7 6.1 3.0 4.5 0.8 2.3 2.7 0.9 3.4 1.9 0.6 1.7
 Limburg 33.3 13.5 13.8 14.1 4.8 4.4 3.4 3.7 1.2 2.3 1.7 0.1 0.3 1.0 0.6 1.7
 North Brabant 26.9 13.1 18.1 12.7 6.6 4.4 3.5 4.1 1.8 1.9 1.8 0.4 0.6 1.6 0.7 1.7
 North Holland 19.8 20.7 17.1 10.1 7.9 3.2 2.3 3.1 3.4 2.5 3.1 0.3 1.0 2.3 0.7 2.8
 Overijssel 22.0 11.6 11.1 21.9 4.3 8.5 3.5 2.4 1.4 2.1 1.5 3.0 3.4 1.3 0.6 1.1
 South Holland 24.4 14.7 16.0 10.9 6.4 2.6 3.3 2.7 4.1 2.4 2.3 3.1 2.4 1.8 0.8 1.9
 Utrecht 17.6 20.5 16.2 10.5 8.4 2.8 3.4 2.3 3.1 1.8 2.8 2.8 3.0 2.6 0.6 1.6
 Zeeland 23.9 11.1 14.7 12.1 4.1 5.9 4.3 3.1 0.8 2.5 1.8 9.7 2.9 0.7 0.7 1.7
 Caribbean Netherlands 10.9 13.8 10.7 8.2 26.2 5.0 1.6 1.5 0.4 2.3 2.2 0.4 11.7 1.4 0.3 3.5
Postal voters abroad 6.3 28.6 17.4 12.1 10.5 3.2 1.9 1.9 0.3 3.3 4.0 0.7 1.6 5.2 0.8 2.2

Aftermath

Political analysis

International media described the results as "one of the biggest political upsets in Dutch politics since World War II",[85] and as a landslide victory for the Party for Freedom (PVV).[86][87][88] Many analysts speculated that the rise of the PVV was due to great debate performances by Wilders in the weeks upcoming to the election. When migration became the largest issue of the election, it helped to boost the appeal of Wilders.[89] Some politics journalists opined that Wilders was able to build wider support by softening some of his statements after VVD leader Dilan Yeşilgöz suggested she might include the PVV in negotiations and declaring in a debate that he would be "a Prime Minister for all Dutch people."[90] Others commented ahead of the election that newer anti-establishment and alternative parties to the PVV such as the Forum for Democracy, JA21, BBB and Pieter Omtzigt's New Social Contract ran out of steam when voters, having experimented with them, moved back to the PVV because Wilders had remained a stronger and more consistent political figure.[91]

In addition, the leader of the GroenLinks–PvdA coalition, Frans Timmermans, was disliked by many right wingers, and since the VVD and NSC did not directly rule out working with either PVV or GL-PvdA, this led to right-wing voters consolidating around Wilders in order to prevent a Timmermans premiership.[92] The Farmer–Citizen Movement saw a decline from their peak in the provincial elections in March, with many of their voters going towards NSC or PVV, for issues around nitrogen emissions were only a minor topic in the campaign.[93]

The results of the elections are expected to lead to protracted and complicated coalition talks. Outgoing Prime Minister Mark Rutte will remain in a caretaker capacity, and the incumbent coalition government will continue as a demissionary cabinet until the next coalition government is sworn in, which can take up to several months.

Reactions

Following his party's performance, Wilders was praised by Hungary's Prime Minister, Viktor Orbán. He was also praised by far-right leaders across Europe such as Marine Le Pen, Matteo Salvini, André Ventura, Alice Weidel, Tom Van Grieken, and Santiago Abascal.[94][95]

All parties of the incumbent coalition government lost seats in this election.[8] Incumbent coalition party Democrats 66 leader Rob Jetten blamed the senior coalition party VVD and its leader Dilan Yeşilgöz for the successes of Wilders and the PVV in the election, saying on election night that "Yeşilgöz left the door wide open for Wilders" and blaming her party's campaign strategy for allowing "the politics of intolerance [to be] normalized while it should never be normal". Yeşilgöz denied her party's strategy was to blame for the PVV's success, saying, "It was not the VVD that made the PVV great. The voters did that."[96]

Government formation

See also

Notes

  1. ^ As the Labour Party (9 seats) and GroenLinks (8 seats)
  2. ^ As the Pirate Party (0 seats) and The Greens (0 seats)

References

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  • Media related to Dutch general elections 2023 at Wikimedia Commons
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