In 2016 and 2017 there had been a number of defining political moments to note I the West’s fight between left and right wing with the growing rise of populism. This shift saw the rise of Donald Trump in the United States of America and Nigal Farage leading the Brexit campaign in the United Kingdom. However, on March 16th, saw a major buck of that trend as Geert Wilders of the Dutch Party for Freedom (PVV), a right-wing, Dutch nationalist, anti-immigration eurosceptic party was held to 2nd place despite months of hype leading to the election. Instead, centre-right People’s Part for Freedom (VVD) and Democracy lead by incumbent Dutch prime minister Mark Rutte were able to retain power with a reduced share of the seats.
While the Netherlands will need to form a coalition it is unlikely to include both the VVD and the PVV. However, the election also saw the Labour Party falling to a large collapse losing 29 of their 38 seats leading up to the 2017 Elections, however, with gains by a number of parties that were not present in the previous parliament.
However, in the wider scene of politics is the failure of a right-wing populist party which was riding so much hype and media attention leading to the elections be an anomaly or could it mark the end of the brief period of popularism in the west?
With France and Germany still yet to hold their elections this year with the National Front and the Alternative for Germany in the respective countries still enjoying a large amount of media attention, it is unclear whether they will succumb to the lacklustre finish of the Dutch elections or enjoy the triumphant success enjoyed by popularism. It will be unclear until the elections are held, the French Presidential elections due to take place at the end of April, we will have to wait and see whether these countries will look left or right in an ever changing Europe.