Best and Worst Scenarios for Ukraine After Far-Right Win in the Netherlands

Friday, 24 November 2023

The right-wing populist Party for Freedom led by Geert Wilders has become unexpected winner of the snap parliamentary elections in the Netherlands.

Ukraine knows this party primarily for its Eurosceptic stance, its role in the infamous referendum on the Ukrainian Association Agreement with the EU, calls to cease military assistance to Ukraine, and the lifting of sanctions against Russia.

Analyst of Come Back Alive, Hleb Volosky, describes in his column Four possible scenarios for the future political developments in the Netherlands: Will new government cease assistance to Ukraine.

According to the preliminary results, as the author notes, the Party for Freedom (PVV) can count on 37 seats in the parliament. This is significantly more than what sociological surveys had predicted for them ahead of the elections.

However, despite the results, Hleb Volosky writes that Wilders won't be able to form a government independently since he needs at least 76 seats out of 150.

So, PVV currently lacks 39 seats for a majority.

Therefore, the further political situation in the Netherlands may develop according to four scenarios:

1. PVV attempts to form a government with other leading parties: Greens and Labour Party (GroenLinks–PvdA), Party for Freedom and Democracy (VVD), and New Social Contract (NSC). Negotiations would be extremely tough as these parties had ruled out a coalition with Wilders. In this case, Wilders would need to make numerous compromises.

2. GroenLinks–PvdA, VVD, and NSC may unite and, with some smaller party, form a majority. Despite ideological differences, especially on migration, they share a moderate stance and an unwillingness to cooperate with toxic PVV.

3. The parliament might establish a so-called minority government when a temporary coalition of several parties would vote on the cabinet composition, but each party would independently decide whether to support the government's initiatives in each case.

4. If forming a coalition proves unsuccessful, and the parliament cannot agree on a minority, new snap elections could be called in the Netherlands.

The political situation in the Netherlands may evolve in several months, and during this period, the current cabinet under Mark Rutte would continue to govern the country. Despite the election results, the Netherlands has already announced a $2 billion aid package for Ukraine next year.

There might be prolonged negotiations for a new coalition in the short-term. However, the political stance of the Netherlands toward Ukraine then is unlikely to change. The best-case scenario is a coalition of GroenLinks-PvDa, PVVD, and NSC, who can provide the best conditions for continued assistance from the Netherlands.

The worst-case scenario is if PVV manages to form a coalition. But Wilders would have to compromise with at least two active Ukraine advocates within the coalition, softening his positions within the coalition agreement.

Even though PVV won, most of the new parliament parties are still pro-Ukrainian. The results should not be seen as the Netherlands turning away from Ukraine. Most of the Dutch population continues to support both military and humanitarian aid to Ukraine.

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