Confusing election results

If anything, I find the results of the Dutch parliamentary elections confusing. Several one-issue parties sprung up (Party for the Animals, who are for animals, and Party for Freedom, who hate anybody who’s not lily-white), but we’re also back to a situation where we have four major parties, two to the left and two to the right.

The two governing right-wing parties say that the voter has agreed with their policies the past four years, in which they managed to end two of their governing periods prematurely. At least this way we get to vote nice and often. Considering the fact that both governing parties have lost seats in the lower house one might be inclined to think they’re wrong; the voter did punish them for the past years. But that would be too simplistic; both parties lost a lot of votes to populist movements on the far left and the extreme right.

But the smugness of the ruling parties has made them rule out any course change. Tonight, prime minister Balkenende was actually announced by one of his people as the man who “stays the course”. Guess who the Christian Democrats (right wing) consider their true boss, eh?

It would probably be doable to chart the possible governments that need to arise out of these shambles, even if it would be a lot of work, and even considering that the ruling parties (the right still has a majority, though a fragile one) really don’t want to change anything. I know they don’t, because they built their campaigns around little else than maintaining the status quo.

But with one-issue parties thrown into the mix, any majority is going to be an explosive one. We might have a minority government, or a fragile majority one, or one who will rule as if it were a minority one, only deciding on broad, safe issues.

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