Agricultural protest group wins unexpectedly in Dutch elections.March 17, 2023
The Farmer-Citizen Movement (BBB) is set to dominate the Netherlands' upper house of parliament after it secured 15 senate seats in provincial elections, stunning the political establishment. The party was established in 2019 as a riposte to Prime Minister Mark Rutte's conservative VVD party, which sought to fall in line with European Union regulations on nitrogen emissions by significantly decreasing livestock numbers and buying out thousands of farms. BBB argued that the suggested solutions are unfairly stacked against farmers, and has also gained support by adopting policies in line with Dutch social and moral conservative values. Rutte's VVD party dropped from 12 to 10 senate seats following the vote in what is a major blow for the Dutch coalition government, whose approval rating has sunk to 20%. The two left-leaning parties with which it often appeals to, Labour and GreenLeft, look set to hold their senate seats which would place their combined numbers of seats in line with BBB's new total, potentially offering an opportunity for Rutte to garner enough support for policies despite BBB opposition.