What To Watch For As The Dutch Go To The Polls

Tyler Durden's picture

Dutch citizens will vote today for a new government in one of the most-watched elections in years. While polls have tilted towards PM Rutte's VVD Party in recent days, the euroskeptic leader of the Freedom Party, Geert Wilders, looks set to gain the most seats but the necessary coalition will be anything but clean (since World War II, it’s taken an average of 72 days to form a government).

The timing of the vote results is as follows (via Bloomberg):

Polling stations across the Netherlands close at 9pm (4pm ET), and counting of the votes, which is done by hand, starts immediately. Polls will still be open for five more hours on three Dutch islands in the Caribbean -- Bonaire, Saba and St. Eustatius -- but they represent only a tiny fraction of the overall electorate of 12.7 million.

Ipsos is conducting one exit poll for broadcasters NOS and RTL, to be published just after 9pm (4pm ET) . The first version, which will estimate turnout and the distribution of seats, is based on responses up to 830pm (330pmET); it’s updated at 930pm (430pmET) with last-minute voters. It’s a big exercise: The pollsters expect to get about 38,000 respondents. By comparison, the 2015 exit poll in the U.K., a country with more than three times as many voters, had a sample of 20,000 respondents. Usually the exit poll is a pretty accurate prediction of the end result in the Netherlands. In 2012, it was a total of six seats off out of 150.

The total number of votes cast is divided by 150, the total number of seats, to determine the threshold for winning a seat. In 2012, it was 62,828. Then the cumulative total for each party is divided by the threshold to determine the number of seats it’s entitled to. The handful of seats left over are shared out according to a mathematical formula.

What will determine the next prime minister?

Basically, the ability to form coalitions. The Netherlands has so many political parties -- a dozen hold seats in parliament -- that no one party has ever won a majority on its own. Win or lose, this will pose a challenge to Wilders, since most other parties have ruled out a tie-up with his Freedom Party.

As MishTalk's Mike Shedlock explains, this will get messy...

Political Party Explanation

  • VVD is the People’s Party for Freedom and Democracy. VVD is led by prime minister Mark Rutte.
  • PvdA is the Labour party. PvdA is in a current coalition with VVD.
  • PVV is Partij voor de Vrijheid, Geet Wilders’ annti-immigraton eurosceptic Party for Freedom.
  • SP is the Socialist party. SP is in opposition against the Second Rutte cabinet.
  • CDA is the Christian Democratic Appeal party. From 2010 to 2012 the CDA was a junior coalition partner in a right-wing minority cabinet with the People’s Party for Freedom and Democracy (VVD), supported in parliament by the Party for Freedom (PVV).
  • D66 is the Democrats 66 party whose main objective is to democratize the political system. It seeks to create an American-style presidential system.
  • CU is the Christian Union. The CU holds socially conservative positions on issues such as same-sex marriage, abortion, and euthanasia. It is Eurosceptic while maintaining progressive stances on economic, immigration and environmental issues.
  • GL is the GroenLinks (green) party. GroenLinks describes itself as “green”, “social” and “tolerant”
  • SGP is the Reformed Political Party. The term Reformed is not a reference to political reform but is a synonym for Calvinism. The party favors the re-introduction of the death penalty in the Netherlands. They base this on the Bible, specifically on Genesis 9:6, “Whoso sheddeth man’s blood, by man shall his blood be shed: for in the image of God made he man.” The SGP opposes feminism, and concludes, on Biblical grounds, that men and women are of equal value (gelijkwaardig) but not equal.
  • PvdD, Partij voor de Dieren, is the Party for the Animals. Among its main goals are animal rights and animal welfare, though it claims not to be a single-issue party. The party does consider itself to be a testimonial party, which does not seek to gain political power, but only to testify to its beliefs and thereby influence other parties.
  • 50+, 50 Plus, is a pensioners’ interests political party.

When do we get the final result?

Not until 4 p.m on March 21, when the the Dutch Electoral Council makes its formal announcement. But unless it’s really very close, the seat distribution shouldn’t change.

Coalition Math

  1. It takes 76 seats to form a coalition.
  2. All of the parties have ruled out entering a coalition that contains Geet Wilders’ PVV.
  3. Take away Wilders’ 24 PVV seats and another 14 seats from SP and it gets rather problematic coming up with 76 seats given the varying views.
  4. VVD+PvdA+D66+GL = 27+9+16+19=71
  5. VVD+PvdA+D66+CDA = 27+9+16+21=73

In regards to point number 3, is the CU or SGP likely to agree with the socially tolerant GL Green party?

At Least Four to Tango

In a  Bellwether to European Populism, Bloomberg reports that it will take at least 4 to tango.

A coalition of 5 looks even more likely, and if PVV hits the high 20s, I wonder if it takes a coalition of 6.

Don’t Hold Your Breath

“Since World War II, it’s taken an average of 72 days to form a government. The speed record, dating from 1958, is 10 days. But be warned: A total of 208 days were required in 1977 to establish a coalition that consisted of only two parties.”

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Kotzbomber747's picture

The big unknown is a new party called FvD (Forum voor Democratie), which will be a great alternative for both VVD (lying son of a bitch PM Rutte) and the more radical PVV of Geert Wilders which has quite a left wing agenda when it comes down to dismantling of the hideously expensive Welfare State.

The FvD also wants out of the Euro and the EU and also wants to curb the influence of Islam in The Netherlands, nevertheless, on economic issues they have a little bit more of a libertarian agenda. They got my vote!

gigadeath's picture

Geert Wilders will rule the the world. 

J. Peasemold Gruntfuttock's picture

So in terms that outsiders can comprehend what we are looking at is potentially a  'Coalition of the Unwilling'.

Or in the vernacular:


Hell, that's not me!


Yeah, you know me!


But I'm just naughty by nature.


J. Peasemold Gruntfuttock

zvzzt's picture

Yes the new FvD has an excellent program. Virtually no point I could not agree on. Very libertarian and an outside-of-politics group of 'leaders'. Only one thing bugging me - will voting for them bring about enough change to really make an impact on the near term? Isn't it better (more strategic) to go for Wilders this time, even though I disagree with almost everything except the anti-EU and anti immigration politics. To me, everything else is of little importance at this point in time. 

I am truly devided on this one... 

Singelguy's picture

I have watched a number of interviews with Thierry Boudet, the leader of the FvD and he has said nothing that I disagree with. Unfortunately, the media has tried to marginalize him. I suspect that he will do much better than the polls suggest and could possibly be king maker in any coaltion.

alphabert's picture

I agree. FvD has been ignored by most MSM (and alternative media as you can see here). FvD uses social media succesfully as their platform and I think some news outlets might be surprised how many people will vote for FvD (like me). 

alphabert's picture

I agree. FvD has been ignored by most MSM (and alternative media as you can see here). FvD uses social media succesfully as their platform and I think some news outlets might be surprised how many people will vote for FvD (like me). 

Yen Cross's picture

 I've watched usd/chf and eur/usd trade in "tandem" for three days.   Something is broken.


     The rubber~band, is about to snap!

  * Bonus comment~ SHORT DAX

turnball the banker's picture
turnball the banker (not verified) Mar 15, 2017 3:27 AM

Only thing to watch is if Gert is leading

RibbitFreedom's picture

I'm living in the Netherlands for 11 months. It will be interesting to see if Wilders can form a coalition.

Yen Cross's picture

 Someones safe~space is  being violated? 

  I make fiatskies, and you lose.   Long Ag> The bottom is in

AntiLeMaire's picture

I also voted FvD, used to vote VVD before. PVV is a bit too leftwing on economics for me, and also a bit too coarse and unsophisticated.

It seems a bit busy at the website of FvD (Forum voor Democratie, https://forumvoordemocratie.nl/) at this moment, please have patience ... But the site is still working, got through after a few times a Cloudflare error from Amsterdam Internet Exchange.
So either lot's of people want to read their program at the last moment, or the site is being DDOS-ed.

alphabert's picture

Lol. No, Geert Wilders didn't invest much energy in this election, evaded debates and repeated his points of view of the last 10 years without providing any practical solution. People are not impressed and Wilders lacks the willpower or enthousiasm to get into a real position of power. Time and time again he shows that he is not up to the responsiblity of governing The Netherlands. He is the voice of complainers without solutions. Even with the Turkish incident he reacted more mellow than some leftish parties. Finally, there's a lot more competition on the (far) right and we don't use voting machines here in The Netherlands, so nothin' is rigged.

HermanVanCuckold's picture

Good luck to all u ZHers in NL, from your friends in Orban land.

Enkidu78's picture

I wished we had a Gert to vote for here in the UK.  

AntiLeMaire's picture

IPSOS reports higher turnout at this moment (at 11:00 CET) than the previous general election in 2012. Turnout is now 15% versus 13% around the same time in 2012. Turnout in 2012 was 74.6%, so first expectation is that today turnout will be about 86%.

High turnout is good for PVV, bad for CDA, neutral for VDD, D66, PvdA and GL and may be good for small new parties (like FvD :)).


Note: it is not really 'bad' for CDA, it is just that CDA voters will ALWAYS go to the polls, whereas the others may not.
It used to be that good wheather was good for PvdA (Labour) but because almost all their former low-income voters have left for other parties, they are left with mostly higher educated & high income voters, who usually are just as faithfull as CDA voters. So effect on PvdA is either neutral or slightly negative, but difficult to say at this time because we can no longer compare to previous elections.

AntiLeMaire's picture

Turnout indeed high to very high. Weather is very nice, so that helps, I biked to the polling station.

The Hague reporting much higher turnout then at similar time in 2012 (+21%, factor). Many other big cities like Rotterdam and Amsterdam also reporting very high turnout. Rotterdam Center passed 50% mark by noon (very rare) and Amsterdam had almost 2x the turnout around 13:00 then in 2012. That was a year with very bad turnout, but still. Amsterdam (which usually has a low turnout, is now expected to end at 80%, up 10% versus 2012).These bigger cities usually have (much) lower turnout numbers than the rest of the country.

Using these numbers I expect turnout across NL will be between 85% and 90% (versus almost 75% in 2012). As low as 80% is not very likely due to the fact that Amsterdam will probably reach that, and they are usually among the lowest.
Last time we passed 85% was 30 years ago.

So clearly a hotly contested election. That and great weather :)

AntiLeMaire's picture

Ipsos reported a countrywide turnout of 33% around 13:45 CET, versus 27% in 2012, that is an even higher trend than early this morning.

Based on that, and the big showing in the bigger cities, I now expect the turnout in NL to be about 87.5% (versus 74.57% in 2012).

WTFUD's picture

VVD = Voluntary Vaginal Discharge.

Stan522's picture

Well, if it's anything like what Trump is enduring, Geert will be challenged to say the least....

Anyone trying to speak truth about islam, or anything else Lib's hold dear to their hearts will be vilified, demonized, ridiculed, scorned, HATED, and chastised......

Sledge-hammer's picture
Sledge-hammer (not verified) Mar 15, 2017 3:49 PM

So when they go to the polls, they go Dutch?