May 23, 2011

PM Rutte may have to cooperate after Dutch Senate elections

Filed under: General by Branko Collin @ 1:37 pm

Today the members of the 12 provinces will be electing a new Senate (in Dutch, Eerste Kamer) in the Netherlands.

It could be make-or-break time for the current right-wing cabinet who stand to lose a majority. There are three scenarios, likely to be decided on a single vote. 1) The government keeps its outright majority and continues on its merry way. 2) The government loses its majority and needs to negotiate a deal with the SGP (fundamentalist Christians who believe things like women should not be allowed to hold jobs). 3) The Senate will have a left-wing majority, and Prime Minister Rutte will have to negotiate majorities on a case by case basis.

As the left is fairly divided, none of the scenarios will be very problematic for Rutte. He might even forgo an alliance with SGP, who could mistakenly demand too much power in return for what little they have to offer. 

The outcome may in fact be beneficial to Rutte personally, whichever way it turns out. A feisty senate—a political body otherwise mostly known for its roll-over-and-play-dead mentality—is what he is going to get anyway, and now at least he gets to show off his political acumen. For somebody of his ‘tender age’ (44) that’s not a bad place to be.

The election results are expected to be made public on Wednesday, although according to Elsevier the press will have their predictions ready around 4:30 pm this afternoon.

(Photo by Petra de Boevere, some rights reserved)

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