Opposition ideal basis for further rising of right-wing parties
Public Administration expert and political scientist Koen Damhuis wrote about the Dutch elections for the international platform The Conversation: ‘Dutch elections: Mark Rutte wins another term but fragmented results mask continuing popularity of the far right.’ He describes how (radical) right-wing parties may be 'condemned' to the opposition, but that precisely that could become the ideal basis for their further rising.
Roads to the Radical Right
Damhuis conducted research into the motives of voters for (radical) right-wing parties and wrote Roads to the Radical Right, for which he conducted more than 100 in-depth interviews among voters in the Netherlands and France. These showed that the motivations of voters for these parties can vary widely.
Damhuis has looked at the results of the Dutch elections with particular interest and notes that the (radical) right has won more seats in parliament than ever before. But not only that:
‘In such a fragmented political landscape, opposition is a competitive yet interesting place to be. Holding a governing coalition together is difficult at the best of times, but Rutte has to tread the line between a large number of parties. That leaves space for radical right parties to continue to build their electoral prospects while presenting themselves as outsiders. They can propose radical change and criticise the government over an array of issues – including the poor quality of welfare state services, financial aid being sent to other countries and a lack of law and order – without having to assume any responsibilities.
Both within the Netherlands and beyond, this diversity of issues enables the far right to thrive. That’s because their constituency, too, is highly diverse.’
[The Conversation, 19 maart 2021]