The present Prime Minister of the Netherlands, Mark Rutte, is the first Prime Minister from a party other than the two traditional centrist parties, PdVA and the CDA, and their predecessor parties since the Dutch constitution and voting system was fundamentally changed in 1917. Clearly, we are seeing a change in voting patterns.
But what is even more remarkable is that right now polling for parties that have always been in opposition is almost half of the vote for this election.
Source: Legatum Institute
Why it matters: We are in the midst of an economic upswing in Europe and globally as well. By all macro accounts, the Dutch economy is performing well. Yet, between them, previous ruling coalition parties —the VVD, PdvA, CDA, D66 and CU — are projected to only get 52% of the vote. They could even get fewer votes than the parties that have never been in government during the 100 years of the modern Dutch electoral system.
People talk about voters turning to populists. But what happens to electoral patterns in a recession — or another sovereign debt crisis? And how would more populist platforms or parties in Europe deal with the existing economic orthodoxy, dominated by the stability and growth pact’s 3 and 60% deficit-debt hurdles? The political risks in Europe may be high right now. But depending on how the economy does, the risks can rise higher still.