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Path To Maj. Gov't Narrows Further After NSC Withdraws From Talks


The prospect of a majority gov't led by Geert Wilders' right-wing nationalist Party for Freedom (PVV) has been dealt a mortal blow following the withdrawal of the centrist New Social Contract (NSC) from coalition talks on 6 Feb. NSC leader Pieter Omtzigt said that differences over gov't finances made joining a governing coalition with the PVV an impossibility, but left open the prospect of his party supporting Wilders' in a confidence-and-supply agreement.

  • The centre-right People's Party for Freedom and Democracy (VVD) has also said that it would only work w/PVV in a C&S. This would leave the PVV and the agrarian-populist Farmer-Citizens Movement (BBB) as the only parties in gov't on an unstable 44 seats out of 150.
  • The options for a gov't now appear to be a Wilders-led minority gov't, a majority gov't without Wilders (likely a cross-spectrum coalition involving parties of the centre-left, centre, and centre-right), the NSC coming back to the table, or snap elections.
  • Opinion polling shows the PVV on course to win 50 seats, a total not achieved by any party since Ruud Lubbers' centre-right Christian Democratic Appeal (CDA) in the 1989 election.
  • The two parties refusing to work with Wilders, the NSC and VVD are on course to lose seats. As such, it could prove in their best interests to work with Wilders now rather than risk snap elections and a PVV with even more seats.
Chart 1. Netherlands General election Opinion Polling, % and 3-Poll Moving Average

Source:, Ipsos I&O, Ipsos, I&O Research, MNI

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