Dutch Greens almost quadruple seats as pro-environment parties register big gains in Netherlands election

Support for the progressive D66 and GreenLeft was way up on 2012

Tom Batchelor
Thursday 16 March 2017 01:18 GMT
Jesse Klaver, leader of the Dutch GreenLeft
Jesse Klaver, leader of the Dutch GreenLeft

Pro-environment parties that prioritise tackling climate change have greatly increased the number of seats they are expected to take in the Dutch election, with the Greens doing best of all by almost quadrupling their vote share.

Support for the two most pro-EU parties, the progressive D66 and GreenLeft, was way up on 2012, exit polls show.

The Greens jumped from four seats to 14 in parliament, in part thanks to the campaign led by charismatic leader Jesse Klaver, who has been likened to Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

"This is a fantastic result for us, a historic victory," said GreenLeft chairwoman Marjolein Meijer, who suggested the result showed there was "very fertile ground in the Netherlands for change and a positive and hopeful story”.

"For us this is just the beginning,” she added.

The Green’s historic victory turned it into the largest party on the left wing of Dutch politics for the first time.

Mr Klaver said before the first exit poll was announced that “left-wing friends in Europe” should “stand for your principles”.

“Be straight. Be pro-refugee. Be pro-European,” he said.

"We're gaining momentum in the polls. And I think that's the message we have to send to Europe. You can stop populism."

In Amsterdam, exit polls showed GreenLeft had emerged as the largest party, with D66 in second place.

If the polls are reflected in actual votes cast in the Netherlands’ largest city, Mr Wilders’ PVV party will finish in sixth place with just 7 per cent of the vote.

Maranne Thieme, an MP with the Dutch Party of the Animals, said the combined seat total of her party, the GreenLeft, D66 and the Christian Union, which also favours environmental protection, was likely to increase to more than 40 in the 150-seat parliamant.

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