Elections in the Netherlands are always unpredictable and it’s harder to declare a “true winner” than in previous Lessons Learned special editions.
Unlike the typical “winner takes all” narrative in politics, this election did not produce a single, clear winner. However, it did produce a big shock with a late surge in support for right-wing leader Geert Wilders, who won the most seats but far from a majority. New parties gained ground and voters spread their preferences as a form of protest against the outgoing liberal-led coalition’s failure to fulfil promises. The electorate is polarised and splintered. The post-election struggle will be all about whether to form a coalition with Wilders or against him. The true winner may only become apparent once coalition negotiations conclude—a process that, as after the 2021 election, could take up to a year.