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Elections in the Netherlands (again)

 
 
nimh
 
  2  
Reply Sun 7 Mar, 2010 01:53 pm
@Walter Hinteler,
Yeah - on the one hand I'm pretty proud about Holland not having an election threshold and strident about keeping it -- but on the other hand I would gladly exchange the Dutch political landscape for the German one, as it still stands for now. For a number of reasons.

I made some charts to go with my posts above, btw:

http://imgur.com/OHzQV.gif
realjohnboy
 
  1  
Reply Sun 7 Mar, 2010 02:17 pm
Very pretty. Got one for France?
roger
 
  1  
Reply Sun 7 Mar, 2010 02:23 pm
@nimh,
Nimh, I think you better have a look at this page.

http://able2know.org/topic/142167-9
nimh
 
  2  
Reply Sun 7 Mar, 2010 02:33 pm
@nimh,
Here's another indication of both the fragmentation of the political landscape (in which supporters of each party are derisive about almost all the others), and the dominant revulsion against the whole caboodle. Maurice de Hond's polling agency asked its respondents to grade a list of national politicians. Out of 10, with 10 being excellent and 1 being awful, not a single politician scored a 6 or higher.

The only politicians that got at least 5 out of 10 (which already would have you failing a class in high school) are Alexander Pechtold (Democrats), Femke Halsema (Green Left) and Mark Rutte (right-wing liberals).

(I'm leaving out the new Socialist Party leader, who's only been in place for three days, and whom few people know much about as of yet. The party's desultory showing in the local elections led Agnes Kant, who had been leading the party the last couple of years, to throw in the towel.)

Here's the full list:

Code:5,6 Roemer (new Socialist leader, only in office a couple of days)
5,2 Pechtold (Democrats)
5,0 Halsema (Green Left)
4,9 Rutte (VVD - right-wing liberals)
4,5 Bos (Labour)
4,4 Rouvoet (Christian Union)
4,3 Van der Vlies (SGP - Dutch Reformed)
4,2 Van Geel (Christian-Democrats)
4,2 Slob (Christian Union)
3,9 Balkenende (Christian-Democrats)
3,9 Kant (Socialists)
3,8 Hamer (Labour)
3,2 Thieme (Party for the Animals)
3,1 Wilders (Freedom Party)
2,6 Verdonk (Proud of the Netherlands)

0 Replies
 
nimh
 
  1  
Reply Sun 7 Mar, 2010 02:36 pm
@roger,
Heh.
0 Replies
 
msolga
 
  1  
Reply Sun 7 Mar, 2010 05:32 pm
@nimh,
That Netherlands graph is pretty incredible, nimh.
A nation evenly divided by political affiliations. Wow.
Any chance of any of any new affiliations of some of these groups to form a new, bigger party? Probably not, given your reference to "strident" loyalties.
A remote possibility of the emergence of a brand new party, even, with appeal to the "middle ground". (though it looks like there isn't exactly a whole lot of middle ground at all. Wink )
Crikey. It's kind of admirable, but very very messy at the one time! Good luck, parliament!

Quote:


Yeah - on the one hand I'm pretty proud about Holland not having an election threshold and strident about keeping it -- but on the other hand I would gladly exchange the Dutch political landscape for the German one, as it still stands for now. For a number of reasons.

I made some charts to go with my posts above, btw:

http://imgur.com/OHzQV.gif
nimh
 
  1  
Reply Sun 7 Mar, 2010 05:40 pm
@realjohnboy,
Here you are:

http://imgur.com/vxb9c.gif
nimh
 
  2  
Reply Sun 7 Mar, 2010 05:55 pm
@msolga,
msolga wrote:
Any chance of any of any new affiliations of some of these groups to form a new, bigger party? Probably not, given your reference to "strident" loyalties.

Nope, I don't see any mergers in the making - I can't think of any feasible merger. Too many mutual stridencies.

Ironically, the current landscape already is the result of some mergers on the flanks of the former political landscape. What was known, in the seventies and eighties, as the "small left" - leftwing Christian, pacifist socialist and communist parties, merged into the Green Left in 1989 - and soon became a lot less radical. Two of the three small, deeply religious protestant parties that together used to be known as the "small right" merged into the Christian Union in 2000, and in turn also moved to the political center.

But no sooner did they do that, or new parties emerged on the left flank (the Socialists entered parliament in 1994) and the right flank (the Fortuynists entered in 2002, and were succeeded by the Freedom Party).

Quote:
A remote possibility of the emergence of a brand new party, even, with appeal to the "middle ground". (though it looks like there isn't exactly a whole lot of middle ground at all. Wink )

Nope. For example, the two parties that are now considered to be located in the dead center of the political landscape, the Democrats and the Christian Union, are at the same time each others' antitheses, as the Democrats are stridently secular and the Christian Union is deeply religious.
0 Replies
 
realjohnboy
 
  2  
Reply Sun 7 Mar, 2010 06:06 pm
@nimh,
Thanks, Nimh. Welcome back. I will be watching the Dutch, German and French elections closely.
I have a thread called "Oh, No! Election Day is November 2nd, 2010." There I am covering the U.S. mid-term elections for the 33 or so contested Senate seats, all 435 House seats and a bunch of races for Governor.
So far, Irishk and Msolga have admitted to reading what I write.
msolga
 
  1  
Reply Sun 7 Mar, 2010 06:22 pm
@realjohnboy,
Quote:
Thanks, Nimh. Welcome back.


May I second that sentiment, RJB?

Great to see you back, nimh. (I hope on more than a temporary basis? Smile )
0 Replies
 
nimh
 
  2  
Reply Sun 7 Mar, 2010 08:49 pm
OK, here's the ones for Holland, Germany and France again, but this time complemented with an additional chart for Hungary...

http://imgur.com/5YVNP.gif
0 Replies
 
nimh
 
  3  
Reply Mon 15 Mar, 2010 01:57 pm
So, since the local elections earlier this month:

  • Socialist Party leader Agnes Kant resigned and announced she would quit politics. She was immediately replaced by Emile Roemer.

  • Labour Party leader Wouter Bos, who was Deputy Prime Minister in the now defunct government, resigned, and was instantly replaced by Amsterdam mayor Job Cohen.

  • Camiel Eurlings, a rising star of the Christian-Democrats who was seen to be one of two politicians vying for the #2 position in the party (and a chance to succeed Prime Minister Balkenende as the party's leader if the elections go badly), quit politics too.

Boring it's not.

Kant's resignation, although not quite expected so soon and a surprise to her peers, wasn't all too great a shock, considering the party's disastrous results and polling. Nevertheless it leaves the party rudderless; Kant herself had only succeeded the long-time, charismatic party leader Jan Marijnissen less than two years ago, and her successor is fairly unknown.

The news about the other two quitting, especially Bos of course, was a different story.

Both Bos and Eurlings, who quit on two consecutive days, gave as reason that they wanted to spend more time with their family - and for once, the argument seems to be sincere.

Bos seemed, after all, to only just have found the way back up for his party, putting in a combative performance during the local elections campaign. It's true that Labour is still polling at a painful historic low - if elections were held today, Labour would still get its second worst result since World War 2 - but just a month ago, Labour was 8% behind the Christian-Democrats. On the eve of Wouter's resignation they were tied, with the trend for Labour going back up and for the Christian-Dems going down. So it doesn't seem to be a rats/sinking ship kind of thing.

Post-resignation reporting traced back the long backstory. Bos has three kids, who are now, IIRC, six, three and one year old. He was already telling colleagues about how much he wanted kids a decade ago, apparently, and drew attention when, a couple years ago, he missed an important Cabinet meeting to celebrate his daughter's birthday. (He was also apparently much pissed-off when Christian-Democratic politician Maxime Verhagen turned that into an occasion to disparage him.)

On a more substantive note, it turns out that Bos had been preparing this out for years. Already in the 2006 campaign, the question had, naturally, come up whether Bos, as party leader, would also be Labour's candidate for Prime Minister if it were to win the elections. In a surprise move, the party responded by presenting Cohen as its PM candidate. Bos wasn't particularly looking forward to the job, and his wife had pressured him not to go for it.

Not long after the elections and becoming Deputy PM in the new government, Bos told Cohen that he wasn't planning to stay for the long run, and would Cohen be prepared to take over when the time came? Over the next four years, they met up discretely every half a year or so, with Bos every time asking Cohen if he was still available. This way, they prepared Bos passing on the baton after the local elections too, with only a few fellow party leaders knowing about it.

As for Eurlings, he also seems to have left at a moment when opportunities were actually approaching. If the Christian Democrats fare as badly in the elections under Balkenende as it appears, they would likely be looking for a new leader afterwards, and Eurlings would have stood a very good chance. But he left anyway.

Eurlings is 36; Bos is 46. It sure seems that they mean it about wanting a less demanding job that would leave them more time with their family, and so there's a lot of talk about whether this is all a sign of generational change, a different perspective on work and career among a new generation of men, etc. Public opinion approves. However, Bos did state unequivocally that he would keep going on during the local elections campaign, so he also stands exposed as someone who, well, lied.

His luck is that Cohen has high favourability numbers, and the announcement of him taking over as Labour leader seems to only be strengthening the party's rebound. A poll out this weekend actually has Labour leading the pack as largest party, if still at a desultory 18%.

Cohen also shows up in the poll as easily the most popular pick for Prime Minister. The current PM, Balkenende, is still moderately popular among his own Christian-Dems, but is disliked by most voters of the rightwing liberals and especially the far right Freedom Party. Firebrand Geert Wilders, meanwhile, is hugely popular among his own Freedom Party voters, but doesn't meet with much love among rightwing liberal and especially Christian-Democratic voters. Cohen, on the other hand, is liked by voters across the left-wing spectrum, as well as by a fair chunk of the people planning to vote for the rightwing liberals. And so, 54% of the voters would prefer Cohen as PM, 26% Balkenende, and 17% Wilders.

Whether this lasts, remains to be seen. As mayors in the Netherlands are appointed, Cohen has practically no campaigning experience - how will he fare in the sharp to and fro of the debates?

Wilders is probably not unhappy with facing Cohen as opponent either. Whereas Bos had incorporated some of the more strident rhetorics about integration and law and order that has become fashionable, Cohen is something of a figurehead of the traditional Dutch "poldermodel" of politics, all focused on "keeping everyone together" - and he's from liberal, intellectual Amsterdam and everything. He will make for a convenient lightning rod for Wilders' railing against the self-satisfied Dutch political elites, always muddling on and "out of touch" with the rampant excesses of multiculturalism... I predict an especially good score for the Freedom Party in the workers' city of Rotterdam, where there are few things they dislike as much as Amsterdammers.

For Balkenende, a campaign focusing largely on the sharp contrast between Cohen and Wilders, however, could be bad news, as it might make him look relatively irrelevant, and might rob him of his share of media attention. With new party leaders popping up around the place, he also gets to look even more like yesterday's, worn-out news.

If - and that remains an if - Cohen becomes a hit on the campaign trail, that might also spell trouble for the Green Left and especially the Democrats, who are riding high in the polls now. In polarized elections, the Labour Party has a habit of sucking the votes out of the other left of center parties: when there's a clear left vs right fight for dominance, many leftwing voters feel the need to rally behind the largest party on their side (see: 1986, 1977). We'll have to see whether that happens now too, though: with Balkenende, Wilders and the rightwing liberal's Mark Rutte still competing for dominance on the right it's not sure whether that dynamic will play out. The bright side would be that the party landscape wouldn't end up as fragmented as it looks now, making it easier to create a new government. Wait and see!
msolga
 
  1  
Reply Mon 15 Mar, 2010 01:59 pm
@nimh,
Quote:
Boring it's not.


No, it certainly doesn't sound that way, nimh!

Will read this a lot more carefully later.

Interesting!
0 Replies
 
nimh
 
  1  
Reply Mon 15 Mar, 2010 03:07 pm
@nimh,
nimh wrote:
March 2007 Provincial Elections in the Netherlands

[..]

Meanwhile I'm glad to see the results of my old voting station in Utrecht Razz

26% Green Left
18% Rightwing liberals (VVD)
17% Socialist Party
16% Labour Party
10% Democrats66
6% Christian-Democrats
3% Christian Union
3% Party for the Animals
1% local left-leaning party

73% for the left; 27% for the right. I'm proud ;-)

Got round to looking up how that worked at the municipal elections this month ...

28% Green Left
22% Democrats '66
16% Rightwing liberals (VVD)
14% Labour Party
7% Christian-Democrats
6% Socialist Party
2% City Party Livable Utrecht
2% Christian Union
2% Proud of the Netherlands
1% local center-left party

71% for the left; 29% for the right. Still looking good. ;-)

Just a pity the Socialists fell back so far, and instead those wishy washy liberals from the Democrats '66 are all the rage.
0 Replies
 
Walter Hinteler
 
  1  
Reply Tue 16 Mar, 2010 01:55 am
Just adding as a minor remark here:

the Partij voor Naastenliefde, Vrijheid & Diversiteit (PNVD) ("Paedophile Party") doesn't exist anymore since yesterday since they couldn't get enough signatures (570) to be finally established.
Source (in Dutch)
msolga
 
  1  
Reply Tue 16 Mar, 2010 01:57 am
@Walter Hinteler,
And not at all a bad thing, either, Walter!
0 Replies
 
Walter Hinteler
 
  1  
Reply Tue 16 Mar, 2010 01:59 am
@Walter Hinteler,
Quote:
The highly controversial political party for Brotherly Love, Freedom and Diversity, more commonly known in the Netherlands as the 'Paedophile party', is to disband. The party's members took the decision at a conference held on Sunday.

Chairman Marthijn Uittenbogaard founded the movement in 2006. It has advocated lowering the minimum age for sex with minors to 12 years and the legalisation of child pornography. This controversial programme was condemned both in the Netherlands and abroad.

The party was unable to participate in the Dutch general election of 2006 because it failed to collect enough declarations of support to be included on the ballot papers. The movement was disbanded on Sunday after the members realised they would again be unable to collect enough signatures to participate in the general election in June this year.

Source: Radio Netherland
0 Replies
 
msolga
 
  1  
Reply Tue 16 Mar, 2010 02:17 am
@nimh,
Phew! What a turn of events, nimh.

Quote:
The bright side would be that the party landscape wouldn't end up as fragmented as it looks now, making it easier to create a new government. Wait and see!


It sounds to me, after all that information (!), that Job Cohen & his performance as leader of the Labour Party (if it goes well) could be the key to less fragmentation in government in the near future. (Am I on the right track here, do you think? Wink )
nimh
 
  1  
Reply Tue 16 Mar, 2010 05:53 am
@msolga,
Maybe. If he stays a hit once he starts campaigning properly, then yes, he could reduce the fragmentation significantly at least on the left. If not, not. ;-) The long term trend, over the past ten to twenty years, is obviously to ever greater fragmentation, so that's what he's up against.
msolga
 
  1  
Reply Tue 16 Mar, 2010 05:59 am
@nimh,
Quote:
Maybe.


OK. Wink
0 Replies
 
 

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