Euroskeptic newcomers unseat Dutch PM’s conservative Senate majority in wake of Utrecht shooting
Euroskeptic party, Forum for Democracy, is set to become one of the two largest groups in the Dutch Senate, stripping the ruling coalition of its majority after winning provincial elections on Wednesday.
Forum voor Democratie (FvD) has scored a major victory and is set to win 12 seats in the upper house of parliament – as many as Prime Minister Mark Rutte's conservative VVD Party, Dutch broadcaster NOS reported after the majority of the votes were counted. The outcome also means the loss of its Senate majority for the ruling coalition, which comprises four center-right parties led by the VVD.
Forum voor Democratie de grootste, bijna alle stemmen geteld. Volg reacties in ons liveblog https://t.co/9A8kqTvQC5— NOS (@NOS) March 21, 2019
The 75-seat Senate will be elected on May 27 by 570 members of 12 provincial councils whose composition was decided on Wednesday. The FvD scored slightly more votes than the VVD after receiving a surge of last-minute support following a shooting in Utrecht this week by a Turkish-born man. The party's leader Thierry Baudet immediately pinned the incident on the government's “lax immigration policies.”Also on rt.com 37-year-old Turkish ‘terror’ suspect who killed three in Utrecht shooting arrested (VIDEO)
“If people want more deadly shootings like the one in Utrecht, then they have to vote for the VVD,” he said a day before the elections.
“The voters in the Netherlands have spread their wings and shown their true power,” Baudet boasted after the vote on Wednesday. “We have been called to the front because we have to. Because the country needs us.”
The Euroskeptic party gained a political foothold in the 2017 general election, winning two seats in the House of Representatives. Since that immediate success, which resonated well with the public in the wake of an unprecedented refugee influx in Europe, FvD has also been seeking to join a similar Euroskeptic group (European Conservatives and Reformists) in the European Parliament.
Unlike Geert Wilders’ ultra-conservative Party for Freedom (PPV), which traditionally attracted hardliners in the Netherlands, the FvD does not have clear Islamophobic tendencies and tends to position itself as the country’s lone defender of Western culture. The party, which seeks to represent a break from recent Dutch political culture, also supports easing income tax and speaks out in support of green initiatives. Besides being anti-immigration, Baudet and his supporters advocate the expansion of the armed forces and military spending.
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