Right-wing ‘folksy nationalism’ party wins in Dutch elections

A new powerhouse of Dutch right-wing populism took political center stage Thursday after winning its first provincial elections, a victory that was seen as a resounding rebuke to Prime Minister Mark Rutte’s ruling four-party coalition.

With counting of ballots from Wednesday’s vote wrapping up, the Farmer Citizen Movement – known by its Dutch acronym BBB – was predicted to win 15 seats in the 75-seat upper house of the Dutch national parliament, level with the bloc formed by left-of-center Labor and Green parties. The provincial lawmakers elected in Wednesday’s vote choose national senators at the end of May.

Losses suffered by members of Mr. Rutte’s coalition weaken the government but could also strengthen their resolve to sit out their four-year term in office that ends in 2025 rather than face an early national election. They also will compound problems for Mr. Rutte in his attempts to drastically slash pollution from the country’s agriculture, industry, and transport sectors to protect vulnerable natural habitats.

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