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Pro-European parties win elections in Netherlands

Pro-European parties win elections in Netherlands

13.9.2012 10:48

The fiscally conservative Liberal Party of Prime Minister Mark Rutte, in favor of complying with fiscal targets, won most seats in the Dutch parliamentary elections (41 in the 150-seat parliament), with 92% of the municipalities reporting, according to the Associated Press. The party was followed closely by the center-left Labour Party (39 seats), which is proeuro but opposes tough austerity measures. The Socialist Party, euroskeptic, strongly against austerity and current fiscal targets, came third
with 15 seats.

The right-wing Freedom Party, calling for the Netherlands to leave the EU and the euro, came fourth with 13 seats.

The election result, if confirmed, is a positive signal for Europe and the financial markets, suggesting the likely formation of a broadly pro- European two-party coalition government in the Netherlands. The two, pro-European parties together got 80 out of the 150 seats in the Dutch parliament and are therefore likely to form a governing coalition not having to rely on other parties. The result dispels earlier fears that the process of forming a majority government could be timely as euroskeptical parties would be needed to join, possibly affecting the ability of the eurozone to deal with the ongoing debt crisis.

The two pro-European parties are unlikely to largely disagree about solutions to the eurozone crisis, although some differences remain. Rutte has been a supporter of German Chancellor Merkel in demanding that peripheral countries implement austerity in return for financial support,whereas the leader of the Labor Party wanted to shift to a more growthorientated strategy.

That said, the status quo of power in Europe should be more less preserved as the so far fiscally conservative Netherlands would most probably continue to support Germany in the fight for fiscal discipline in Europe. The Netherlands should also continue on a path to meet the EU-set fiscal targets.

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