History of Netherlands Part V

History of Netherlands 5

The cabinets under Rutte

The Balkenende cabinet broke up in February 2010 during a dispute over an extension of the Dutch military operation in Afghanistan. In early elections on June 9, 2010, the VVD, under the leadership of M. Rutte, became the strongest political force before the PvdA (30 seats) by winning 31 parliamentary seats. The CDA lost 20 seats and only got 21 seats. The right-wing populist Party for Freedom (PVV) run by opponent G. Wilders with 24 seats became the third strongest political force. After difficult coalition negotiations, M. Rutte formed in October 2010 a minority government made up of VVD and CDA, tolerated by the PVV. On October 10, 2010, with the dissolution or reorganization of the Netherlands Antilles, a new constitutional law came into force. After the PVV withdrew its support from the government in the dispute over an austerity package, Rutte submitted his resignation on April 23, 2012 and only remained in office as a manager. Early parliamentary elections were held on September 12, 2012, from which VVD (26.5%, 41 seats) and PvdA (24.7%, 38 seats) emerged stronger. The PVV recorded significant losses (10.1%, 15 seats). VVD and PvdA agreed to form a grand coalition with Rutte as head of government. The new cabinet was sworn in on November 5, 2012.

On January 28, 2013, Queen Beatrix declared that she would renounce the throne in favor of her son Prince Willem-Alexander. On April 30, 2013, he was enthroned as the new king.

In the European elections on May 22, 2014, the PVV favored in the polls suffered a significant setback. With 13.3% it only landed in third place after the D’66 (15.5%) and the CDA (15.2%). The ruling VVD was able to improve slightly from 11.4 to 12%, while the coalition partner PvdA fell significantly from 12.1 to 9.4%. In the elections to the provincial parliaments held on March 18, 2015, VVD and PvdA lost a good third of their seats. Political observers assessed the poor result as a reaction to the government’s austerity program implemented since 2013. Due to the losses in the provinces, the parties of the ruling coalition lost 9 seats in the elections for the First Chamber of Parliament held on May 26, 2015, and only provided 21 of the 75 senators (previously 30). Domestic politics remained shaped by the issues of immigration, dissatisfaction with the EU and the role of Islam in Dutch society. A request from the right-wing populist G. Wilders (PVV) failed to schedule a referendum on leaving the EU on June 28, 2016 in parliament with a large majority. On November 29, 2016, the MPs passed a ban on wearing full-body veils (burqas) and face veils (niqabs) in government buildings, in local public transport, as well as in schools and hospitals.

The election for the Second Chamber took place on March 15, 2017 and resulted in heavy losses for the governing parties VVD and PvdA. The social democratic PvdA only won 5.7% of the votes and 9 parliamentary seats. She lost 29 of her 38 seats in parliament. The VVD received 21.3% of the vote and 33 seats, a loss of 8 seats. It remained the strongest party before G. Wilders’ right-wing populist PVV which won 13.1% of the vote and 20 seats, an increase of 5 seats. The CDA and D’66 posted profits, each with 19 seats in parliament. Gr├╝nlinks was able to grow strongly with the acquisition of 14 seats (2012: 4 seats). After the longest formation of a government in the history of the Netherlands, VVD, CDA, D’66 and CU reached a coalition agreement on October 9, 2017. The new cabinet led by Rutte, which only had a one-vote majority in parliament, was sworn in on October 26, 2017. In spring 2019 the government lost the majority in the first chamber of parliament, in autumn 2019 also in the second chamber.

The Netherlands as a European integration state

The various governments of the country promoted efforts for the political and economic integration of Europe with great energy: accession to the Council of Europe (1949), to the coal and steel union (1952), to the EEC (1957) and to EURATOM. In their policy on Germany they agreed to the equalization policy of the western victorious powers of the Second World War from the perspective of European integration. In terms of European policy, according to oxfordastronomy, the Netherlands supported the Maastricht Treaty of 1992, the Amsterdam Treaties (1997) and Nice (2000) and joined the Eurozone on. In the first referendum in the country’s history, however, in June 2005 the Dutch voted by a large majority against the ratification of the EU constitutional treaty. The Netherlands ratified the Lisbon Treaty in 2008. On April 6, 2016, a majority of around 61% of those who voted in a consultative referendum opposed ratification of the EU Association Agreement with Ukraine. The result of the vote was seen as a sign of the growing EU skepticism among the Dutch population. After the EU partners clarified the terms of the contract, Parliament approved the agreement in 2017.

History of Netherlands 5