Here are the 2021 election results. They’re not official yet; the Electoral Council will present the formal results next Friday, and traditionally one or two seats will change hands at that time.
|VVD||34||+1||Winner, to nobody’s surprise. Still, in some polls the VVD was at about 40 seats a few weeks ago, so they’ve come down, mostly due to a switch to D66 last weekend.|
|D66||24||+5||The surprising winner. The polls captured a switch from VVD to D66, but did not capture the subsequent switch from the other left-wing parties to D66. The Democrats profited from a last-minute prime minister race.|
|PVV||17||-3||Lost unexpectedly. Its seats went to other extreme-right parties.|
|CDA||15||-4||Lost. The polls showed them roughly stable around their 2017 result of 19 seats, but the CDA was too VVD-like in its standpoints. And why opt for a copy when you can vote for the original?|
|SP||9||-5||Lost. Protest votes mostly went right this time, and D66 sucked away left-wing votes.|
|PvdA||9||0||Stable. That was a deception; Labour expected to win at least a few seats. But it seems their time has passed. But I think they need a real left-wing leader instead of yet another bland centrist.|
|GL||8||-6||Lost heavily. I mostly blame the last-minute switch to D66. Still, it didn’t do enough in the past parliamentary session to deserve gains.|
|FvD||8||+6||Won despite allegations of anti-semitism. Part of the reason is Forum’s Corona denial, part is sheer racist bloody-mindedness with part of the electorate. Still, one wonders how far they would have come without the Corona crisis.|
|PvdD||6||+1||Won slightly. Had hoped for more. But their positioning as GL’s more strict successor is kind-of working.|
|CU||5||0||Stable. Both christian parties are always stable, no matter what the polls say, so no surprises here. They can only win if turnout is low, which it wasn’t this time.|
|Volt||3||+3||Pro-EU newcomer. Roughly in the same spot as D66, so D66 might have won their votes if Volt hadn’t been around.|
|DENK||3||0||Stable. That’s a moderate success, since polls showed the party for Turkish and Moroccan Dutch losing a seat.|
|JA21||3||+3||Extreme right newcomer; FvD split-off. Supposed to be a decent right-wing party. Party leader Eerdmans has goernmental experience in Rotterdam.|
|50Plus||1||-3||Remained in parliament, which was unsure for a long time after the interminable internal arguments of the last years.|
|BIJ1||1||+1||Newcomer. Split-off of DENK for black Dutch, although party leader Simons clearly wants to broaden her base and become a general left-wing party.|
|BBB||1||+1||Newcomer. This farmers’ party was on no one’s radar until days before the elections. Farmers’s parties are populist but not necessarily extreme right, but this one might be. Unclear.|
The extreme right populist parties (and for now I count 50Plus and BBB as such) broke through the Fortuyn limit of 28 seats, now occupying 30. Without 50Plus and BBB they’d have 28, exactly the limit. Whether that is a one-time occurrence remains to be seen; although they reached or exceeded the limit, they did not shatter it.
Fortunately the elections’ big story is D66, and not the extreme right. On election night D66 was estimated at 27 seats, and despite them falling back this narrative is still the dominant one. Also, it might be that the Dutch press has shed its fascination with the extreme right.
There are more parties than ever in parliament: 17. The 1918 elections, the first under proportional representation, returned 18 parties, but it’s the only election to return more than the current one.
Finally, two new parties entered parliament with a single seat. This is not as common as it might seem; the last time this happened was in 1994. Since then all new parties won at least two seats.
Now we go to the formation of a new government. Which coalition will be foremd? On election night VDD+D66+CDA had a slim 76-seat majority. Although D66 lost seats, this combination is still seen as the most logical one. At its current 73 seats it needs an extra party, but there are plenty of candidates: CU, GL, PvdA, maybe even Volt.
The VVD is more or less required to sit in the next coalition. So is D66, its gains leave it no other option. In that regard they are in the position that CDA and PvdA used to be in: even though they fought each other during the campaign, they were forced to cooperate after the elections. PvdA and VVD were in the same position in 2012.
This gives D66 some power to turn the country toward a more pro-EU, progressive stance. If negotiations between VVD and D66 fail, the VVD is more likely to get the blame (unless Rutte does something very clever), and therefore D66 has the upper hand. Still, its stance during Rutte III was somewhat disappointing, so they might cave in and go for power.
So far the rule has been that the junior partner in a Rutte-led government lost in the next elections. Both CDA and PVV lost in 2012, after the VVD+CDA(+PVV) Rutte I, and PvdA lost heavily in 2017, after the VVD+PvdA Rutte II. This time around only CDA lost after the VVD+CDA+D66+CU Rutte III. That means that the CDA might be less eager to enter the coalition this time. On the other hand, it is nothing without power. The smart money is on them being part of Rutte IV.
In the case that the CDA refuses to participate the formation becomes more complex, and five parties will be necessary. VVD+D66+PvdA+GL+[CU or PvdD] is the most likely option, but the question is whether Rutte wants to form a government with a bunch of left-wing parties.
All in all I expect the CDA to cave in and participate, though they might play hard to get for a little while.
VVD and D66 have started talks with one another and with other parties, but the real work can only start after the Electoral Council’s report: a crucial seat might still change hands.
Update: One seat went from VVD to D66. Their final seat counts are 34 and 24.
<— Final polls 2021 elections
This is the political blog of Peter-Paul Koch, mobile platform strategist, consultant, and trainer, in Amsterdam. It’s a hobby blog where he follows Dutch politics for the benefit of those twelve foreigners that are interested in such matters, as well as his Dutch readers.
If you like this blog, why not donate a little bit of money to help me pay my bills?
(Add your own)