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  New populist BBB wins Dutch vote; Rutte coalition down
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Last EditedBojicat  Mar 15, 2023 06:57pm
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AuthorAssociated Press
News DateThursday, March 16, 2023 12:00:00 AM UTC0:0
DescriptionTHE HAGUE, Netherlands (AP) — A new populist party riding anger among Dutch farmers and rural communities at government policies to rein in agricultural pollution emerged as the big winner in provincial elections Wednesday, according to early exit polls.

The elections for the Netherlands’ 12 provincial legislatures also indirectly decide the makeup of the country’s national senate — and the win for the Farmer Citizen Movement was seen as a powerful protest vote against Prime Minister Mark Rutte and his four-party center-right governing coalition.

An IPSOS exit poll predicting the 75 seats in the senate said the Farmer Citizen Movement, known by its Dutch acronym BBB, would probably emerge with 15 seats, tying it as the biggest bloc with a combination of the center-left Labor Party and Dutch Green Party. Rutte’s coalition, which already did not have a majority in the senate, saw its combined seat holding shrink to 24 from 32. The exit polls have a margin of error of one seat per party.

The early results cast Rutte’s plans to reduce farm nitrate pollution into doubt as his government has tasked provincial legislatures with developing plans to radically reduce emissions.

They also cast a shadow over the remainder of Rutte’s term in office as he is likely to face problems getting legislation through the senate, the upper house of the national parliament. The next national elections are scheduled for 2025.
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