Elections in the Netherlands are less than a week away, so I’ve taken a look through the manifestos of each party so you don’t have to! This post takes a look at the People’s Party for Freedom and Democracy, also known as the VVD.
The VVD (Volkspartij voor Vrjiheid en Democratie) takes roots from the Liberal Union, a conservative liberal party formed in the mid-1800s. The current party was formed in 1948 and is centre-right in its leanings, supporting private enterprise and economic liberalism.
Since 2010, the VVD has been the largest party in the lower house of parliament, known as the House of Representatives, and in the most recent elections in 2012, the party achieved their most seats to date – 41.
Mark Rutte is the leader of the party and has been Prime Minister of the Netherlands since 2010. Rutte is the first Dutch PM since 1918 to not be a Christian democrat or a socialist. Taking office seven years ago at the age of 43, he is also the second-youngest PM after Ruud Lubbers.
In 2010, the party lead a coalition with the centre-right Christian Democratic Appeal party (CDA), with support from the far-right anti-Islam Party for Freedom (PVV). However, this deal collapsed in 2012 after the leader of the PVV, Geert Wilders, withdrew his party’s support for a budget for 2013. Wilders claimed the budget, which would have cut €16 billion in government spending, would stifle economic growth. As a result, the government collapsed.
In the election that followed, the VVD gained 10 seats, winning a total of 41. Government formation were complicated, as the party’s former partners lost seats in the House of Representatives. The VVD ended up going into coalition with their left-wing rivals, the Labour Party (PvdA). Although the coalition held, a rare occurrence, it was extremely unpopular as many had voted Labour or VVD to keep the other out of office.
The party is economically right-wing, supporting small government and a laissez-faire approach to the market. In addition, the VVD are generally supportive of tax reductions and a balanced budget. However, the party is socially liberal, supporting same-sex marriage, euthanasia, abortion and animal rights. The party is also pro-European, and also believes in mandatory sentencing, separation of church and state and a distinction between ‘soft’ and ‘hard’ drugs.
- Broad package for healthcare, including provision of expensive medication (as long as their efficacy can be demonstrated)
- Give power to residents of a healthcare institution to decide how they live their lives
Security and freedom
- Invest more in community police officers, as they are the cornerstone of the police force
- Expand anti-terror units and expand the powers of the security services to meet latest technological advances in communication
- Invest more in defense, as the preparedness of the military for deployment is very important – includes the investment in modern military equipment and new innovations
- Strict requirements on those wanting to live and work in the Netherlands
- Aim for no more asylum applications from Europe, only allowing people into the country through resettlement programs
- Stop municipal shelter for asylum seekers and illegal immigrants
Investment and the future
- Invest in innovation and ensure the Netherlands remains open for business
WHAT DO THE POLLS SAY?
In September 2012, the party received 41 seats, but current seat projections show that the VVD could only muster just over half that with roughly 24 seats. Although polls over the last year have shown the party projected to be as many as 23 seats behind the far-right PVV, the party has since the beginning of this month shown that it could remain the largest party, ahead of the PVV by two seats.
Over the next few days, we’ll be taking a look at the various different parties that are contesting the Dutch election next week and the possible outcomes of the vote.