In an upset win that has rocked Dutch politics, the populist farmer’s protest party picked up 17 seats in the election for national parliament.
This development marks a stunning victory against a political establishment that has recently imposed economically destructive policies on farmers to address concerns over climate change.
The victories by the Farmer Citizen Movement, known as BoerBurgerBeweging or BBB in Dutch, “underscore a deep-rooted resentment of mainstream politics,” the Associated Press (AP) reported in a post-election wrap-up.
Tensions in the Netherlands have been high as the ruling government has steadily embraced European Union policies seeking to halve emissions of nitrogen oxide and ammonia by the year 2030 as part of a forced transition into a greener economy.
The populist election win will cast doubts over the government’s ability to proceed with its planned nitrogen cuts, Reuters reports.
“We are all normal people and all the people who voted for us are normal citizens,” the AP quoted BBB leader Caroline van Der Plas as saying in a victory speech.
“Normally, if people no longer trust the government, they stay home,” she added. “Today they showed they don’t want to stay at home — they want their voices to be heard.”
Following the election, social media was flooded with support for the Dutch farmers and the political movement they inspired.
Dutch commentator Eva Vlaardingerbroek urged supporters to “stay sharp” before celebrating the win as a blow to politicians that backed the World Economic Forum’s climate agenda, which many believe to be driving the anti-farmer government policies.
Amazing news! 😃💪👏🥳#dutchfarmers won. #thepeople won.
— Adel (@AdeldMeyer) March 19, 2023
“Amazing new! #dutchfarmers won. #thepeople won,” wrote Adel Meyer, a PR and Marketing consultant.
“Thank you for standing up to the globalist mob. Wish you all success in defending your way of life. Your win will benefit all ordinary citizens. Thank you,” wrote another person who does not display their name on their profile.
In recent weeks, thousands of farmers launched protests across the Dutch-speaking region of Flanders in protest of the government’s plan to cut the use of nitrogen fertilizer and reduce livestock numbers, a proposal that could result in 20,000 lost jobs.
“It’s an economic and social catastrophe,” Nele Kempeneers, a spokesperson for Belgian farmers’ association Boerenbond, one of the unions that organized the protest, told POLITICO at the time. “A lot of farms will have to limit the amount of animals that they keep, or simply close down.”