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What Do the Dutch Elections Mean for the Euro?


A look at the parties and candidates involved.


Freedom Party

This splenetic right-wing faction, headed by Geert Wilders (who looks dangerously like David Lynch), was responsible for the collapse of Rutte's minority coalition in April. Wilders, who's polling in fourth place, balked at cuts to pensions and health care and effectively ruined the alliance by walking out on it. He's recently muted his anti-Islamic rhetoric and replaced it with a call for a breakaway from the eurozone. He also, according to Labruyere, shares the Keynesian approach of Roemer's socialist party.

Wilders has seen a falloff in support since the debates, when he erroneously claimed that every Dutch family pays €14,000 in a de facto tax to the European Union. In reality, the figure is around half of that (and then there's the question of why the EU exacts this money).

Wednesday's election will be a test and a kind of experiment for both the citizens of The Netherlands and the euro at large - not a pass-or-fail exam, but a grade that will only be given long after the test has been taken, when and if we understand what is happening to the euro.

There's a reason for the attention lavished on these elections: The Netherlands have the representative democratic problems of a beleaguered European nation with very little economic uncertainty, or at least without the small margin of certainty afforded by Greece, Spain, Ireland, et al.

Its budget cuts constitute housekeeping and preventative measures against a miraculously inoffensive property bubble, which seems to have wounded most democratic domestic economies. Yet the country has what's often seen as a far-right and far-left polarity that paradoxically makes of one the mirror image of the other, and which is written in red ink across the long, brutal history of economic downturn. So here we go. Deep breaths.
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