Trump and Le Pen backed these Dutch farmers — now they’ve sprung an election shock | CNN


I Farmers’ Protest Party The Netherlands Just four years after its establishment, it has come as a shocker by winning the provincial elections this week. Could their rise have wider implications?

The peasant-bourgeois movement or BoerburgerBeweging (BBB) ​​grew out of mass protests against the Dutch government. Environmental policies, protests that saw farmers using their tractors to block public roads. The BBB is now poised to become the largest party in the Dutch Senate.

The development has thrown the Dutch government’s environmental plans into doubt, and the rest of Europe is keeping a close eye on them.

The movement was powered by ordinary farmers but has become an unlikely front in the culture wars. Donald Trump And Marine Le Pen have expressed support, while some on the right see the movement as an expression of their ideology by an elite that is using green policies to undermine the rights of individuals.

On Wednesday, the Peasant-Urban Movement won big in regional elections, winning more seats in the Senate. Prime Minister Mark Rootof the conservative VVD party.

The first exit polls showed the party would win 15 of the 75 Senate seats with about 20 percent of the vote. Meanwhile Rutte’s ruling VVD party fell from 12 to 10 seats – leaving it without a majority in the Senate. Results on Thursday showed that the BBB party won the most votes in eight of the country’s 12 provinces.

The win in Wednesday’s election is significant because it means the party is now set to become the largest party in the upper house of parliament, which has the power to block unanimous legislation in the lower house – which has overturned the Dutch government’s environmental policies. made a question mark.

As election results came in overnight on Wednesday, BBB leader Caroline van der Plass told domestic broadcaster Radio 1: “Nobody can ignore us anymore.

“Voters have spoken very clearly against this government’s policies.”

Newspapers described this week’s election results as a “monster victory” for the peasant-citizen movement, which enjoys support from sections of society that have lost support for Rutte’s VVD party.

For Arjen Norlander, a political reporter in the Netherlands, the results of this week’s provincial elections have made it very difficult to predict the country’s political future. “It’s a big black hole as to what will happen next,” he told CNN.

“They don’t have a majority so they have to negotiate to form the cabinet and we have to wait and see what the impact is.”

Tom Jan Mees, a journalist and political columnist in the Netherlands, believes Wednesday’s result reflects “serious dissatisfaction” with traditional politics in the country.

“This party is definitely part of that trend,” he told CNN.

“However, it is new in the sense that it has a different agenda from previous anti-establishment parties but fits into the bigger picture that has been here for 25 years.”

Meeus believes that the shock in support of the BBB party comes mostly from those living in small, rural villages who feel disillusioned with the government’s policies.

“Even though it’s a small country, there’s a perception that people living in the western, urban areas of the country have all the goods from government policies, and people living in small villages in the countryside believe that Amsterdam is successful. People, things are happening in The Hague, Utrecht, and they suffer from it.

“So the feeling is that less successful, less intelligent people are trapped by a government that doesn’t understand what their problems are.”

Norlander agrees that the most important topic he has been discussing lately is the position of farmers in the Netherlands, because “in Brussels, mainly because of the pollution and environmental laws made by the EU, They were pushing against it.”

“They want farmers to have a place in Holland. That’s their main theme but it’s become broader in the last few months. It’s become the vote of people living in these farming areas, outside the big cities, the big cities. Against making policies against people in cities and against being more international.

The farmer-citizen movement was formed four years ago in response to government proposals to tackle nitrogen emissions.

The Dutch government launched a campaign to halve emissions by 2030, pointing the finger at industrial agriculture for rising pollution levels that were threatening the country’s biodiversity.

The BBB party has fought against these measures – including buying out farmers and reducing livestock numbers – instead focusing on farmers’ livelihoods, which are at risk of being destroyed.

Farmers have protested against the government’s green policies by blocking government buildings with tractors and dumping manure on motorways.

Meeus believes that this week’s election victory for the BBB means that the agenda to address the nitrogen crisis is now in “big trouble.”

“This vote is obviously a statement from a large part of the electorate saying no to this policy,” he said.

According to Ciarán O’Connor, a senior analyst at the Institute for Strategic Dialogue, the BBB has built a platform behind the protest movement that their party represents the ‘real people’.

The BBB, he says, “has been an important driving force behind getting people out to protest but also shaping the ideas and beliefs that give the movement so much power. Denying or disagreeing with climate change or Not least measures that would negatively impact farmers’ livelihoods and businesses.Wideer skepticism of the EU; anti-immigration and anti-Islam sentiments are also on the rise.

Former US President Donald Trump has promoted protests at various places during his speeches last year. At a rally in Florida last July, he told the crowd: “Farmers everywhere in the Netherlands are courageously opposing the climate tyranny of the Dutch government.”

The peasant-urban movement has also received support from the far right.

A report by the International Center for Counter-Terrorism Describes what began as local protests that gained the attention of extremists and conspiracists, particularly seeing it as evidence of so-called The “Great Reset” Theory The global elite is using the people for their own benefit.

According to O’Connor, the movement is consistent with a populist view of climate action as a new form of tyranny imposed on ordinary citizens by out-of-touch governments.

“One of the tactics used by the Dutch farmers’ protest movement is the use of tractors to build blocks. The international interest in the farmers’ protest movement, and this method of protest, will indeed lead to a Canadian truck convoy in 2022. The latter was organized and promoted by many far-right figures in Canada, the United States and internationally.

“For many right-wing figures, this movement was seen as the next iteration of this ‘caravan’ type of protest and they saw it as a mass protest mobilized against oppressive regimes.”

However, for some analysts, it is premature to claim the Dutch protest for the far right.

“I was incredibly unimpressed by it,” Mayes said. “The perception of the problem in general that people on the far right in Canada and the United States had, as far as I’ve seen, was very far-fetched.

“It remains to be seen whether the peasant-urban movement will present itself as a far-right party.”

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