Geert Wilders Frihetsparti ble straffet av velgerne for at det veltet koalisjonen mellom Det liberale parti og kristeligdemokratene. Sosialistpartiets Nederland-først-linje ga heller ikke uttelling.
Det er verdt å notere hva velgerne straffet. Frihetspartiet mistet 43 prosent av velgerne fra forrige valg. Det er mange.
Just a month ago, the former Maoist Socialists of Emile Roemer, who oppose austerity and bailouts for weaker euro zone countries, were either leading in opinion polls or neck and neck with Prime Minister Mark Rutte’s Liberals.
Wilders’ Freedom Party was snapping at their heels, having switched themes from his signature anti-Islamic immigration bashing to calling for the Netherlands to scrap the euro, bring back the guilder and leave the European Union.
The bleached-blonde Wilders suffered the biggest debacle, losing more than a third of his seats to tie for a distant third place with the Socialists, who held on to their 15 lawmakers.
Wilders’ supporters either voted tactically, mostly for Rutte’s Liberals, or deserted him in dismay at his ill-conceived strategy of bringing down a centre-right government and fighting the election on economics rather than immigration.
As the third-largest party in parliament since 2010, the Freedom Party had real influence on policy by keeping a minority Liberal-Christian Democrat coalition in office. Many supporters were upset when Wilders toppled the government in April by refusing to back budget cuts.
DICTATORIAL SOUND-BITE KING
Several Freedom Party lawmakers quit in the run-up to the election, bringing internal conflicts and complaints about Wilders’ alleged dictatorial style into the open.
Results from strongholds such as Wilders’ home town of Venlo showed that voters had switched to Rutte’s Liberals.
A survey by polling agency Ipsos Synovate found that 43 percent of former Freedom Party voters chose a different party because they felt it made no sense to vote for a group which others had ruled out as a coalition partner.
More than a quarter of voters said they voted tactically and 12 percent only made up their minds on election day.