The Complete Preview Of The March 15 Dutch General Election

March 15 is not only the day when the FOMC is now widely expected to hike rates by another 25 bps, and when the US debt ceiling suspension expires, but just as importantly, is the date of the 2017 Dutch General Election. Here is a full preview of what to expect courtesy of RBC Capital Markets.

By way of background, the Netherlands is the euro area’s 5th-largest economy, a founding member of the EU and one of only 3 euro area countries (along with Germany and Luxembourg) to enjoy an AAA rating from the 3 main ratings agencies.

Netherlands general election – summary

  • Dutch voters cast their ballots in the country’s general election on Wednesday March 15th
  • According to opinion polls the (centre-right) VVD party of current Prime Minister Mark Rutte is vying with the anti-immigration, anti-EU, Freedom Party of Geert Wilders to emerge as the largest party
  • The election is the first in a series of votes this year that includes elections in France (April/May) and Germany (September), and potentially also Italy if early elections are announced later this year
  • A victory in the popular vote for Wilders could therefore be interpreted as a signal that anti-EU populist parties are coming to the fore in the EU ahead of those elections
  • However, the fractured nature of Dutch politics (it’s likely that up to 14 separate parties will win seats in parliament) means that the wider impact of Wilders emerging with the largest party may be limited
  • With no party set to command more than 30 seats in the 150-seat parliament, at least four parties will be required to form a government
  • Convention dictates that, were it to win the popular vote, Wilders’ Freedom Party would have first attempt at forming a government
  • However, most of the other main parties have ruled out co-operating with the Freedom Party and there is no rule that the government must contain the largest party
  • In order to deliver its commitment to withdraw the Netherlands from the EU, the Freedom Party would: 1) need to form a government that would agree to put a referendum bill to parliament; and 2) gain parliamentary approval, neither of which appear likely possibilities

Dutch General Election: Opinion Polls


Dutch politics – a bluffer’s guide


Dutch election 2017 – the main protagonists


Dutch election 2017 – but it’s not just about the big two parties


Negotiation, negotiation, negotiation


A near-term referendum on EU membership is unlikely


Even thought Public opinion in favour of the EU has fallen…

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Full presentation below (link)