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Farmers’ party grabs huge win at Dutch provincial elections

The Netherlands’ rural populist party emerged as a big winner in Wednesday’s provincial elections, as it is said to be “heavy blow” to Prime Minister Mark Rutte’s four-party coalition.

With around 85% of votes counted, the Farmer-Citizen Movement (BBB) is set to take 15 seats in the Senate, which will be elected by provincial assemblies in May based on the national vote share in Wednesday’s elections, Dutch News reported.

BBB’s founder, Caroline van der Plas, told public broadcaster NOS that Dutch people showed that they were “fed up with these policies.”

“It is not just about nitrogen, it is about citizens who are not seen, not heard, not taken seriously,” said van der Plas, who is a former agricultural journalist and founded the BBB in 2019.

However, Rutte said the election results will not put his government at risk despite the unexpected success of the BBB.

“I think the Cabinet can remain stable in the coming years, because we have parties that want to take responsibility,” Rutte also told NOS.

The report also added that the alliance of Labour (PvdA) and GroenLinks is also on course for 15 seats, which would allow the coalition parties, with a projected 24 seats in the 75-member assembly, to secure a majority without the support of the BBB party.

A total of 13.3 million people were eligible to vote for the provincial councils and a further 900,000 non-Dutch nationals could vote for the water boards at the provincial elections.

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