June 05, 2009
Wilders’ Freedom Party to win elections in the Netherlands
The Freedom Party becomes the second biggest party after the ruling Christian Democrats (CDA) of Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende. CDA gains 20 percent and is set to fall back from seven to five EP seats.
According to EUobserver, Geert Wilders’ vocal criticism of the country’s large Muslim population appears to have resonated with Dutch voters. Mr. Wilders is reported stating that his success is a vote against the current administration and an overly costly EU.
The main loser of the elections appeared the Labour Party (PvdA), the smaller coalition partner in the government, taking only 12.2 percent of the vote, resulting in a drop from seven to three seats in the European Parliament.
The second winner of the elections is the left-liberal D66, winning three seats, compared to only one in 2004. The small religious Christen Unie is set to remain at two seats, as is the far left Socialist Party (SP). Groenlinks (Green Left) wins one seat and will be able to send three MEPs to the European Parliament, whereas the liberal VVD loses one seat, bringing their total number at three seats.
Turnout is estimated at 36.5 percent, being a little below the 39 percent in the 2004 elections. With 92.1 percent of the votes counted results are still preliminary. NRC Handelsblad reports that the Freedom Party may even gain a fifth seat, fighting for the last seat with the small Party for the Animals, who hope to have one MEP elected.