A protest party made up of farmers shook up the political landscape in the Netherlands on Wednesday, positioning itself as the big winner in regional elections that determine the composition of the Senate.
The BoerBurgerBeweging (BBB, or Citizen Farmers Movement) party has organized a wave of protests against the government’s environmental policies, and forecasts show it winning more seats in the Senate than Prime Minister Mark Rutte’s VVD party.
An exit poll gave the BBB 15 of the 75 seats in the Senate, which has the power to block legislation passed in the lower house of parliament, and the VVD is reduced from 12 to 10 senators.
The meteoric rise of the BBB is a heavy blow to the ruling coalition and calls into question the goal of drastically reducing nitrogen oxide pollution on farms, the sole issue for which the BBB was created, in 2019.
“No one can continue to ignore us anymore,” party leader Caroline van der Plas told Radio 1. “Voters have come out very clearly against the government’s policies.”
The government aims to halve nitrogen emissions by 2030, as relatively high numbers of livestock and high fertilizer use have led to levels of nitrogen oxides in soil and water that breach EU regulations. European.
The nitrogen problem has paralyzed construction in the Netherlands as environmental groups won a series of court cases forcing the government to curb emissions and preserve the environment before new building permits are issued.
The BBB claims that the problem has been exaggerated and that the proposed solutions are disproportionately unfair to farmers, resulting in the closure of many farms and problems in food production.
THE Government of Ruth he has not had a majority in the Senate since the previous elections in 2019 and must negotiate to reach agreements, especially with the left-wing opposition. The two most cooperative parties, Labor and the Greens, seem to have managed to keep their senators, leaving, together, an equal number against the BBB, probably enough to continue to support Rutte’s policies.
In 2021, the BBB won only one seat in the lower house of parliament, but its popularity grew as distrust of the government and irritation with issues such as immigration grew. Rutte’s government, which is in its fourth term, has an approval rating of 20%, the lowest in a decade.