Farmers’ protest party wins landslide victory in Dutch provincial elections | world news

A farmers’ protest party has rocked the political landscape in the Netherlands as it emerges as the big winner in the provincial elections, posing a tough challenge to the prime minister.

The Farmer-Citizen Movement party has been riding a wave of protest against the government’s environmental policies and now appears to be the emerging powerhouse in the Dutch centre.

BBB or BoerBurgerBeweging, as the party is called in Dutch, is a major threat to Prime Minister Mark Rutte and is expected to control more Senate seats than the ruling conservative VVD party.

In the Senate, which has the power to block legislation passed in the lower house of parliament, the PM’s party is set to drop from 12 seats to 10 – while an early exit poll predicted BBB would win 15 of the 75 available seats . .

National senators will be chosen at the end of May when provincial lawmakers elected in Wednesday’s vote nominate them.

BBB’s meteoric rise is a blow to Mr Rutte’s coalition government, casting doubt on its aim to drastically reduce nitrogen pollution on farms, the only issue BBB was founded on in 2019 .

“Nobody can ignore us anymore,” BBB leader Caroline van der Plas told Dutch broadcaster Radio 1.

“Voters have spoken very clearly against the policies of this government.”

Farmers took their protests to The Hague, Netherlands

The intensive use of fertilizers and the relatively high number of livestock have caused high levels of nitrogen oxides in the soil and water, in violation of European Union regulations.

The government aims to halve nitrogen emissions by 2030.

Construction has been crippled in the Netherlands as environmental groups won a series of court cases against the government, ordering them to limit emissions and preserve nature, before new building permits could be granted.

The BBB says the nitrogen problem has been exaggerated, arguing that the proposed solutions are unfairly against farmers – causing many farms to close and shortages in food production.

The prime minister has failed to secure a majority in the Senate since the 2019 provincial election, necessitating the negotiation of deals with his mostly left-leaning opponents.

Its most cooperative allies, Labor and GreenLeft, appear set to retain their seats.

This keeps their combined seats on a par with the BoerBurgerBeweging, which could be enough to allow Mr Rutte to push through his policy.

Dutch farmers protest government environmental policies
Dutch farmers protest government environmental policy

In the Lower House, BBB was only able to hold one seat in 2021, but his popularity has grown as mistrust of the government has grown and amid wider anger over issues such as than immigration.

In its fourth consecutive term since 2010, Mr Rutte’s government fell to an approval rating of 20%, its lowest in a decade.

This could worry the current coalition in the next elections.


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