The Rendon Group Snapshot Report – 20 March 2017

by TRG Alerts Admin on April 7, 2017

The Rendon Group

(20MAR17)

Each week The Rendon Group’s media analysts will focus on a different continent and a different issue affecting that continent. As always, we remain available to answer any questions you may have and to provide additional information upon request. For more information regarding The Rendon Group’s products and services, please contact us at Alert@Rendon.com or +1-202-745-4900.

Netherlands holds parliamentary elections amid rising tensions with Turkey

Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte of the VVD Liberal party appears before his supporters in The Hague, Netherlands, March 15, 2017. REUTERS/Yves Herman

Dutch PM Mark Rutte of the VVD Liberal party appears before his supporters in The Hague, Netherlands, 15MAR17. (Reuters/Yves Herman)

Following the trend of far right populist victories in the UK, the US, and Poland, many observers and politicians predicted that Geert Wilders’ far-right, anti-Muslim, xenophobic and anti-EU Party for Freedom could potentially win the 15MAR17 Dutch elections and enter government. Wilders has a long history of provocative statements, recently calling Moroccan immigrants “scum.” Adding to the tense political climate, Turkish politicians tried hosting rallies in the Netherlands to build support for a new measure to grant Turkish President Recep Erdogan greater executive power; a move that many in Europe view as a path to authoritarianism. PM Rutte’s refusal to allow Turkish officials to campaign in the Netherlands was, according to some, a contributing factor to his eventual victory. Moderate European leaders celebrated his victory as a sign that voters may wish to return to mainstream political parties. Other observers, however, cautioned that Wilders could take advantage of his increased stature as an opposition voice in parliament to win future Dutch elections.

News summary of events during the week of 13MAR17 – 20MAR17

  • 13MAR: Dutch PM Rutte and his main rival at national elections, Geert Wilders, clashed in their only nationally televised face-to-face debate, with Wilders calling Rutte untrustworthy and Rutte responding by saying a Wilders government would plunge the Netherlands into chaos. (AP)
  • 13MAR: Turkey summoned the Dutch envoy in Ankara to complain about the actions of Rotterdam police against Turkish protesters over the weekend, foreign ministry sources said. (Reuters)
  • 13MAR: EU Foreign Policy chief Federica Mogherini and EU Enlargement Commissioner Johannes Hahn warned Turkish President Erdogan to avoid inflammatory rhetoric as a diplomatic crisis between Turkey and the Netherlands deepened. (AFP)
  • 13MAR: Turkey announced a series of political sanctions against the Netherlands over its refusal to allow two Turkish ministers to campaign there, including halting high-level political discussions between the two countries and closing Turkish air space to Dutch diplomats. (AP)
  • 14MAR: PM Rutte said that Turkish sanctions against the Dutch government in the wake of a diplomatic clash were “not too bad” but were inappropriate as the Dutch have more to be angry about. (Reuters)
  • 15MAR: Turkish President Erdogan accused the Netherlands of massacring over 8,000 Bosnian Muslims in the 1995 Srebrenica massacre committed by Bosnian Serb forces. (AFP)
  • 15MAR: Research bureau Ipsos said its exit poll showed that turnout at 1:45 p.m. local time was 33 percent, up from 27 percent at the same stage in the last parliamentary election. (AP)
  • 15MAR: Results showed the left-leaning Labor Party of Finance Minister Jeroen Dijsselbloem suffered historic losses, meaning the coalition Labor had with PM Rutte’s VVD party would probably collapse. (AP)
  • 15MAR: Jesse Klaver led his Green Left party to a historic victory, turning it into the largest party on the left wing of Dutch politics for the first time. (Guardian)
  • 15MAR: Victorious Dutch PM Rutte says his win over Wilders stopped the “wrong sort of populism” in its tracks. (AP)
  • 16MAR: PM Rajoy of Spain, German Chancellor Merkel, Swedish Foreign Minister Margot Wallstrom, Lithuanian President Dalai Grybauskaite, and Latvian Foreign Minister Edgars Rinkevics congratulated PM Rutte on his victory, claiming it as a win for democratic values and a blow to populism. (AP)
  • 16MAR: Turkish Foreign Minister Cavusoglu, commenting on the results of the Dutch elections, said Europe is heading toward an abyss and religious wars. (AP)
  • 16MAR: Geert Wilders celebrated his party’s gain of five seats in parliament by popping a cork on a bottle of sparkling wine at a meeting of his new parliamentary bloc. (AP)
  • 16MAR: Edith Schippers, a prominent member of PM Rutte’s conservative VVD party, was appointed to investigate possible coalitions following the party’s victory in parliamentary elections. (AP)
  • 16MAR: Rotterdam mayor Ahmed Aboutaleb gave his authorization for a pro-Turkish protest against the Dutch police’s handling of a violent demonstration in the port city last weekend. (AFP)
  • 16MAR: Eurogroup chief Jeroen Dijsselbloem insisted that his mandate runs until 2018, despite the fact he could lose his job as Netherlands finance minister after his party’s election flop. (AFP)
  • 17MAR: Supporters of PVV Leader Wilders expressed anger at other Dutch political parties for refusing to consider coalition talks with the PVV. (WP)
  • 18MAR: The Dutch Labour Party (PvdA) confirmed that it would not be part of a coalition government, following its worst-ever loss in last week’s elections. (DPA)
  • 20MAR: On the first day of the process to form a new government, leftist parties GroenLinks and SP and far-right populist Party for Freedom PVV advocated alternative coalitions instead of the obvious choice with the biggest parties VVD, CDA and D66. (Xinhua)
  • 20MAR: Dutch Finance Minister and Eurogroup President Dijsselbloem suggested he could continue in his role as the eurozone’s chief political dealmaker until the end of the year. (FT)

Sample of Twitter handles tweeting about the Dutch parliamentary elections

  • @Fernande_VTFernande van Tets, Freelance journalist (NL)
  • @ianbremmerIan Bremmer, President, Eurasia Group; Global Research Professor, New York University
  • @MattMcBradleyMatt Bradley, Foreign correspondent, MSNBC and NBC News
  • @OliverSallet Oliver Sallet, EU correspondent, Deutsche Welle
  • @rcbregmanRutger Bregman, Journalist, Author of ‘Utopia for Realists’

Sample of Third Party Validators regarding the Dutch parliamentary elections

Hajo Funke, retired Professor of Political Science, Free University of Berlin

“There is a danger that it can go out of control, as far as the voting for Wilders. But I doubt that will be the case.”

  • “Dutch Vote Watched Across Europe With a Finger in the Wind,” NYT, 15MAR17

Sara Hobolt, Professor of European Politics, London School of Economics

“The center-left had a nice coalition of liberal, educated voters and working-class, less-educated voters, in support of a big state and redistribution.But they no longer have the same coalition over immigration and the EU.”

  • “Dutch Vote Sets Tone for Coming Elections in Europe,” WSJ, 16MAR17

Andre Krouwel, Lecturer of Comparative Political Science, Vrije Universiteit of Amsterdam

“Wilders did not want to enter government. What he wanted, and he’s pretty much already achieved it, is for the two mainstream rightwing parties … to say and do what he wants. In a sense, he had already won the elections.”

  • “Europe’s governments signal relief after Dutch election defeats far right,” Guardian, 16MAR17

Cas Mudde, Associate Professor, School of Public and International Affairs, University of Georgia

“There was a narrative, which was very strong, that exaggerated the strength of the populist right after Trump and Brexit. That narrative can switch pretty fast.”

  • “Europe gets reprieve in Dutch election, but the center fragments,” LAT, 16MAR17

Wolfango Piccoli, Co-President and Director of Research, Teneo Intelligence (UK)

“What unites these elections is antiestablishment and anti-EU sentiment, identity politics, and concern about migration and rising inequality. But these themes play out differently, thanks above all to different electoral systems.”

  • “Dutch Vote Sets Tone for Coming Elections in Europe,” WSJ, 16MAR17

Sample of open source research conducted by TRG analysts related to the the Dutch parliamentary elections

  1. ANALYSIS: With Coming Election, the Netherlands Considers a New Relationship to Muslims

Media: New York Times

Byline: ALISSA J. RUBIN

Date: 13 March 2017

ROTTERDAM, the Netherlands — Like many Muslims, Ahmed Aboutaleb has been disturbed by the angry tenor of the Dutch election campaign. Far-right candidates have disparaged Islam, often depicting Muslims as outsiders unwilling to integrate into Dutch culture.

It is especially jarring for Mr. Aboutaleb, given that he is the mayor of Rotterdam, a fluent Dutch speaker and one of the country’s most popular politicians. Nor is he alone: The speaker of the Dutch Parliament is Muslim. The Netherlands also has Muslim social workers, journalists, comedians, entrepreneurs and bankers.

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  1. EU warns Erdogan as Turkey-Netherlands crisis deepens

Media: Agence France-Presse (AFP)

Byline: N/A

Date: 13 March 2017

Istanbul, March 13, 2017 (AFP) – The European Union on Monday warned President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to avoid inflammatory rhetoric as a diplomatic crisis between Turkey and the Netherlands deepened over the blocking of Turkish ministers from holding rallies to win support for plans to expand his powers.

Erdogan at the weekend twice accused NATO ally Netherlands of acting like the Nazis, comments that sparked outrage in a country bombed and occupied by German forces in World War II.

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  1. Erdogan accuses Dutch of having ‘massacred over 8,000’ at Srebrenica

Media: Agence France-Presse (AFP)

Byline: N/A

Date: 15 March 2017

Istanbul, March 15, 2017 (AFP) – Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Wednesday accused the Netherlands of massacring over 8,000 Bosnian Muslims in the 1995 Srebrenica massacre committed by Bosnian Serb forces.

“They have northing to do with civilisation, they have nothing to do with modern world. They are the ones who massacred over 8,000 Bosnian Muslims… in the Srebrenica massacre,” Erdogan said in new onslaught against the Netherlands.

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  1. Rutte claims victory over anti-Islam rival

Media: Associated Press

Byline: N/A

Date: 15 March 2017

THE HAGUE, Netherlands (AP) — Victorious Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte says his win over anti-Islam firebrand Geert Wilders stopped the “wrong sort of populism” in its tracks.

Addressing an election night gathering of supporters in the Hague, Rutte said “the Netherlands said ‘Whoa! Stop!’ to the wrong kind of populism” after Britain voted to leave the European Union and the United States elected Donald Trump as president,

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  1. Eurogroup’s Dijsselbloem says job runs to 2018 despite vote blow

Media: Agence France-Presse (AFP)

Byline: N/A

Date: 16 March 2017

Brussels, March 16, 2017 (AFP) – Eurogroup chief Jeroen Dijsselbloem insisted Thursday that his mandate runs until 2018, despite the fact he could lose his job as Netherlands finance minister after his party’s election flop.

The fate of the current president of the finance ministers of the 19-country eurozone is being closely watched across Europe amid tense negotiations on Greece’s bailout.

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