Going Dutch (BERLIN POLICY JOURNAL / ENG)

Written for the Berlin policy Journal, click here for the original version.
Image: Minister-president Rutte CC / Flickr.

Continuous fragmentation and polarization make coalition-building in the Netherlands an almost insoluble puzzle. So while the cordon sanitaire around Geert Wilders’ Party for Freedom excludes him from power, he is still a centrifugal force in political negotiations.

You probably still remember the Dutch parliamentary elections on March 15 of this year. The international press landed in The Hague to see if the once-tolerant Netherlands would be the next populist domino to fall after the Brexit vote and the election of Donald Trump as president of the United States. That didn’t happen; far-right candidate Geert Wilders was defeated, Prime Minister Mark Rutte got a strong mandate to form a new government, and a voter turnout of 81.9 percent was the highest in almost thirty years.

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The Glass Half Empty (BERLIN POLICY JOURNAL / ENG)

Written for the Berlin Policy Journal, click here for the original version.
Photo: Minister-president Rutte CC / Wiki

Europe is breathing a sigh of relief after Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte held off his rival, firebrand right-wing leader Geert Wilders. But the euphoria could be short-lived: Wilders may be down, but his political agenda and discourse certainly aren’t out.

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An anti-Islam Dutch leader is barred from power. His supporters say: Just wait. (WASHINGTON POST / ENG)

My comments in the Washington Post, klick here for the original version.
Text: Michael Birnbaum
Photo: Thierry Ehrmann CC / Flickr

ALMERE, the Netherlands — If the Dutch anti-Islam leader Geert Wilders were any other politician, his robust election showing this week would warrant a shot at joining a political coalition.But the bleached-blond agitator says Moroccans are “scum,” mosques are havens of terrorism and the Koran is a blueprint for destruction, positions no mainstream Dutch leader will endorse.

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EU-voorzitter Nederland liep aan de leiband van Duitsland (DUITSLANDNIEUWS / NL)

Geschreven voor Duitslandnieuws.nl, klik hier voor de originele versie.
Foto: bewerking Janneke Koster

Een Brexit, een overweldigende vluchtelingenstroom, een nieuwe lening aan Griekenland, TTIP-onderhandelingen en terreuraanslagen. Nederland nam het EU-voorzitterschap van Luxemburg over in extreem moeilijk tijden. De regering van Merkel kon zich geen betere voorzitter wensen. Daarom zijn de Duitsers nu als de dood voor een EU-referendum in de polder.

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