Opinion: Fragmented landscape

POSTED: 09/12/12 12:27 PM

More than 12 million voters are entitled to take part in today’s elections for the Dutch parliament. The stakes are high, and the buzz is almost unreal. This is in part due to the resurrection of the Labor Party under its new leader Diederik Samsom, a former Greenpeace has been arrested (but never charged) on ten different occasions.
Samsom’s meteoric rise came at the expense of Socialist Party leader Emil Roemer who only a few weeks ago was heralded as the possible new prime minister.
Roemer won’t make it, because from a high of 37 potential seats in the polls he has dropped to the low twenties, while Samsom is battling for the top spot with outgoing Prime Minister Mark Rutte. Other parties may count on 36 seats according to the last polls.
Behind the big two and the Socialist Party, Geert Wilders’ Freedom Party is struggling to hit the 20-seat mark, while the Christian Democratic Appeal seems to be headed for another humiliating defeat.
D66 remains stuck around ten seats in the polls and the disintegrated buy valium tablets GreenLeft party may call itself lucky if it wins a meager 4 seats.
All this leaves the Dutch political landscape fragmented. Observers have already warned that the country is in for “Belgian conditions” with a lengthy and cumbersome formation process after the elections.
What this all means for the autonomous countries in the Kingdom is hard to say. The chance that the Freedom Party will get another shot at being the obnoxious supporting partner outside a new cabinet seems remote at best and this could mean that the new government –whatever makeup it will have – will have a more social character.
But will such a government also be prepared to write checks to St. Maarten for its elusive part of the debt relief program? Our Finance Minister has not given up on that chapter yet, but the reality is that the Netherlands has closed the books and that it will take nothing short of a miracle to move the new Dutch cabinet in a different direction.

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