Triumph BBB does not make it easier for the coalition to continue governing 12:56 in Politics For the coalition parties, the big victory of the BoerBurgerBeweging is a blow.

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BBB leader Caroline van der Plas responds to the results for the Provincial Council elections
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  • Guus Dietvorst

    Political editor

After the first exit poll, that of Noord-Holland, disbelief was already visible on the face of BBB leader Caroline van der Plas. “Never expected,” it sounded. Twenty minutes later, after the Overijssel poll, disbelief had grown. “What’s happening here? Indescribable.” And after the poll of North Brabant: “The train in The Hague rumbles on, but we stop that train.”

Whether that happens remains to be seen, but it is certain that ‘The Hague’ shares in the disbelief after BBB’s gigantic victory. This is a blow to the coalition parties; they are on the verge of losing and this result does not make governing any easier.

It is becoming more difficult for the government coalition to find majorities in the Senate. In the forecast, VVD, CDA, D66 and ChristenUnie together seem to go from 32 to 23 seats, while 38 are needed for a majority. That makes piloting policy through the senate more complex.

Incidentally, a blow to the arm is needed when counting the seats in the Senate. The Members of Parliament elected yesterday will only elect the new senate on May 30, and a lot can still happen in a politically troubled time like this.

Do right

Prime Minister Rutte has had to deal with minorities in the senate in all his cabinets. And if anything has emerged, it is that the VVD leader is flexible enough for that. Theoretically, there are now also majorities, but the question is whether the cabinet does justice to the election results.

If the prognosis comes true, the coalition in the senate can be ‘over the left’ with the 15 seats of the joint GroenLinks/PvdA party or ‘over the right’ with the 16 seats of the BBB (although that party cannot be called the right on everything). . These two extremes think very differently about major issues, such as nitrogen, asylum and climate. For example, GroenLinks/PvdA says that climate policy should be more ambitious, BBB wants to slow down.

Curious what majorities can be made in the Senate? Click below to get started yourself.


But the most exciting topic is nitrogen. Dissatisfaction with the intended government policy is the driving force behind BBB’s success. The Nitrogen Act has yet to be passed. In the senate that can be done ‘over the left’, but can a coalition that has lost so much to BBB make it? Van der Plas is clear about it: she would find it “outrageous”. “They have to negotiate with us,” she said. Something that coalition partner D66 does not see.

What makes nitrogen even more complex is that the provinces will play a major role in implementing policy to reduce emissions. Provinces where BBB is (by far) the largest and where the party may even co-govern.

It is not expected that provincial BBBs will cooperate in the field of nitrogen. But nitrogen minister Christianne van der Wal (VVD) immediately pointed out in her response last night that the country can only get rid of the lock by reducing nitrogen emissions. “If you want to create space for new homes, for example, then you have to turn off that tap.”


Whether and where BBB will participate in management will become clear in the coming period in the coalition negotiations per province. At the time of writing, the party seems to be the largest in eleven provinces, so it is difficult to imagine that the newcomer will not govern anywhere.

It remains to be seen to what extent BBB can maintain peace and stability. The party is new, the dozens of BBB States members are new. It would not be the first party to be damaged by internal strife after a rocket-like entry into politics. Think of the LPF and FvD. Incidentally, the party has tried to anticipate this; BBB has spent a long time preparing the candidates.

The coalition and BBB on how the coalition is doing now

Meanwhile, more and more questions arise about the internal stability of the coalition. VVD leader Rutte tries to keep it small. He spoke yesterday about “not the gain we wanted”, but said he was not concerned about the coalition’s future. “Because they are parties that want to take responsibility.”

But can coalition partner CDA still do that, after the party has almost halved? “A landslide of size, an extremely bitter pill,” party leader Wopke Hoekstra said yesterday. The fact that the CDA is in dire straits, and has to consult itself further, does not contribute to peace, to say the least. The question is whether the party is willing or able to continue after such a beating.

Nitrogen is a difficult subject, but there are more problems at play, which also add to the pressure on the coalition. Take asylum and climate. If necessary, VVD and CDA can go through a door with BBB in the Senate on those subjects, but that does not apply to the ChristenUnie and D66. Those parties see more in ‘going about the left’. This difference can lead to tension.

BBB Prime Minister

The pressure is increasing, but the question is whether the coalition will immediately fall apart. That means new parliamentary elections and none of the coalition parties currently have anything to gain electorally. All four sides are losing, while BBB has clear momentum.

The leader of that party sees that too, and would know it if she were the coalition. “How can you continue to govern if you have so little support?” Van der Plas calls the coalition’s situation “difficult” and would like new elections. In her own words, she had not yet had the ambition to become prime minister, but she is going to think about it. “Yes, what if…”

  • BBB also performed well in cities, leading nitrogen and confidence gap for voters
  • Seven provinces finished counting, BBB the largest anywhere
  • CDA members saw it coming, but historic blow ‘hurts’
  • View all results of the Provincial Council elections here
  • Collection


  • Politics

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