The Dutch go to the polls early on Wednesday after the resignation of Liberal Prime Minister Mark Rutte after 13 years in government.
The latest polls published, from this past weekend, assure that the most voted party could be the Europhobic far-right Party for Freedom (PVV) of the ultra Geert Wilders (another who, like Javier Milei, Donald Trump or Boris Johnson, has somewhat peculiar hair, in this case usually dyed platinum blonde).
Mark Rutte (right) and Geert Wilders. Photo: Reuters
Polls also say that the liberal-conservatives of Rutte's VVD, now led by the current Minister of Security and Justice, Dilan Yesilgöz-Zegerius, of Turkish origin, are almost evenly matched.
The most powerful progressive force in the polls is the Social Democratic-Environmentalist coalition led by former Chancellor and European Commissioner for Climate Change Frans Timmermans, the best seen in Brussels in this Dutch competition.
The man who looks like Santa Claus when he grows a long beard and who speaks a good part of the main European languages, assured this weekend that his party will surprise and that he will win the election, bringing him closer to the post of prime minister.
Frans Timmermans. Photo: AP
The traditional conservatives of the CDA learned in the last decade that making a pact with the far right, even when it was only parliamentary support, led them down the path of disappearance and years ago they cut that path, so if their deputies are essential they will look more towards the liberals and even towards the social democratic-ecologist coalition.
What is certain, if we believe in polls that in the Netherlands are very wrong, is that there could be up to 20 different political formations in Parliament and that no one will have even 20% of the votes and seats. Such a scenario will lead, as is increasingly customary for the Dutch and their Belgian neighbours, to a coalition of four, five or six political parties, the only way to achieve a parliamentary majority.
But the elections could have an unexpected arbiter in the figure of Pieter Omtzigt, a former conservative who has created a new party that is rising strongly in the polls and that could make him have an essential role because he could choose whether to govern a right-wing coalition or a left-wing coalition.
An election poster shows Pieter Omtzigt. Photo: AP
Omtzigt grew up because, against everything and everyone, he tirelessly defended the victims of the welfare scandal that toppled the government.
The Scandal That Brought Down the Government
A computer system put in place in 2013 to detect fraud in family allowances led to tens of thousands of families being wrongly accused of fraud.
Most of them were poor, of immigrant origin, thousands had to return thousands of euros that they barely had. Thousands were sent into poverty because of a mistake that persisted for years and eventually led to the fall of the government.
Some of the families were evicted from their homes and nearly 2,000 children were abducted from their parents and placed in institutions. Not a single one of those cases was true. Only in 2022 did the authorities acknowledge the scandal and that it had been done "because of institutional racism".
Omtzigt was the only political leader who clearly sided with the victims and demanded that justice be done for them, starting with millions in compensation. Omtzigt today has only one deputy, himself. And barely 7,000 members in a party created in August. Could he win and become the essential man?
The polls see him as far away, but they also saw him as far away that he could appear among the favorites. No one knows how to place him on the ideological axis, but everyone is right to say that he is a centrist. And it has, above all, the prestige of being honest, honest and upright. With the ultra Wilders ruled out by the cordon sanitaire against the far right, Yesilgöz, Timmermans and Omtzigt seem to be the people between whom the election will be played. There will hardly be a government if two of them do not agree.