A pro-farmer party in the Netherlands won a sweeping victory in elections last week on a platform fighting the Dutch government’s environmental policies. Many farmers argued that these restrictions were destroying their way of life and ability to make a living.
The FarmerCitizenMovement, or BoerBurgerBeweging (BBB) in Dutch, won significant gains in regional elections. The party, founded in 2019, trounced the others in the Dutch election, winning almost double the number of votes as the next largest party.
The BBB’s win is a major one over current Prime Minister Mark Rutte, whose party finished second to the BBB in the Mar. 15 election.
The victory will likely pay major dividends for the young party, as the regional elections play a role in the country’s senatorial elections in May. Recent polling shows that the BBB is leading in some recent polling, as well. This would lead the BBB tied as the largest party, and shrink the number of senate seats of the prime minister’s party.
The BBB’s leader Caroline van der Plas said that the Dutch people were “fed up” with the direction of the Dutch government.
The pro-farming party backed the repeal of a number of Dutch programs the national government claimed were for combating climate change. The root of the issue is a controversial plan by the Dutch government to purchase farms across the country and artificially reduce livestock herds to reduce Dutch nitrogen emissions.
Dutch farmers made headlines across the planet by driving tractors onto highways as a means of protest, which increased their concerns and public profile.
The Dutch farmers just landed a major blow to the wokies with an election win that's made them the biggest party in their senate https://t.co/Hl5VLkekCU
— Not the Bee (@Not_the_Bee) March 16, 2023
However, many of the farmers and their allies claimed that such actions harmed agriculture in the country.
The farmers’ message was heard outside of the Netherlands, picking up major support from leaders in other countries. Marine Le Pen, a former French presidential contender and leader of the National Rally Party, backed the BBB. The even larger surprise came from the support of former President Donald Trump.
The BBB’s victory underscores a number of similar victories of populist parties across the world. The victory of farmers in the northern European country has similar echoes to the 2016 victory of the Brexit campaign in the United Kingdom and the win of Trump in the United States.
The Netherlands is the world’s second-largest agricultural exporter.