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Dutch on brink of electing first feminine chief

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THE HAGUE — Dutch voters could also be about to get somebody very completely different from the outgoing veteran prime minister Mark Rutte. 

A former refugee, Dilan Yeşilgöz, who succeeded Rutte as chief of the VVD social gathering, is now main the polls forward of Wednesday’s vote and will turn out to be the primary feminine prime minister in Dutch historical past. 

The competition is on a knife-edge, with three events vying to win essentially the most seats, however her nearest rival, Pieter Omtzigt has signalled he could not need the highest job for himself. 

That makes it even likelier that Yeşilgöz, the nation’s justice minister, will turn out to be premier on the head of the following authorities. 

Learn extra: Tips on how to watch the Dutch elections like a professional – POLITICO

A self-confessed workaholic, Yeşilgöz is media savvy and doesn’t discuss a lot about being a lady in politics. She is invariably good humored and filled with vitality in public, regardless of what she says are “powerful” calls for of her present job. Her liberal-conservative Folks’s Get together for Freedom and Democracy is now in joint first place with 18 factors in POLITICO’s Ballot of Polls, after she took over from Rutte as its chief. 

Her platform has been a promise to crack down on migration, a problem that has lengthy dogged Dutch politics. 

However Yeşilgöz advised POLITICO it’s her personal background as a refugee that has formed her view on migration. 

“There’s an inflow of too many individuals, not solely asylum seekers but additionally migrant staff and worldwide college students, which implies that we don’t have the capability to assist actual refugees,” Yeşilgöz stated. She listed issues within the system, together with poor high quality reception amenities for asylum seekers and housing shortages as obstacles. 

But Yeşilgöz has a mountain forward of her to achieve the election. 

If the VVD wins, it could be distinctive. There are hardly any examples of governing events that, throughout a change in management, nonetheless stay the biggest. 

But the newest POLITICO Ballot of Polls reveals that VVD is neck and neck with centrist outsider Omtzigt’s new social gathering, New Social Contract. The green-left alliance of Frans Timmermans can also be in with an opportunity, on 15 %. 


For extra polling knowledge from throughout Europe go to POLITICO Ballot of Polls.

As justice minister within the present caretaker authorities, she has been described as a tricky negotiator and a robust communicator, who solely does three issues moreover work: sleep, train and consuming healthily. 

However whereas Rutte has at all times been very non-public about his private life, Yeşilgöz has been way more open, speaking frankly about her marriage, her battles with an immune situation and her hesitation about having kids.

Additionally not like Rutte, who was usually noticed biking to appointments, Yeşilgöz is pushed in every single place and must be closely protected by a private safety element attributable to her place as a justice minister. “It’s a huge a part of my life and that’s very powerful. However I select to maintain going, to not give up, as a result of I can’t be intimidated,” she stated. 

The more and more violent and coarse nature of public discourse within the Netherlands is a rising situation in Dutch politics. Outgoing finance minister Sigrid Kaag introduced earlier that she was leaving politics amid considerations over her security. 

Truthful and strict 

Brussels can also be conserving an in depth eye on the upcoming election. The Netherlands has positioned itself underneath the management of Rutte as a dependable and dominant accomplice within the EU. However officers in embassies and establishments in Brussels now surprise if the following authorities will keep such a constructive function after the November 22 vote.  

It’s a transparent “sure” from Yeşilgöz, if she finally ends up as premier. “As a small nation, we will play an enormous function. We have now at all times completed that, and it’s extremely necessary that we are going to preserve doing that,” she stated. 

Enjoying strict and and enjoying truthful would be the predominant pillars that underpin her method to the EU, stated Yeşilgöz. That features no tinkering with the factors when new nations need to turn out to be an EU member — a debate that’s already heating up in mild of Ukraine’s software to hitch the 27-country bloc.  

A person boards a tram subsequent to a Folks’s Get together for Freedom and Democracy (VVD) marketing campaign poster that includes an image of social gathering chief Dilan Yeşilgöz | Carl Courtroom/Getty Photographs

Historically, the Dutch have been hawks-in-chief on EU fiscal coverage, criticizing huge spenders and demanding a discount in debt ranges. However in more moderen instances, the Dutch authorities has favored flexibility, inside motive.

“Simply being very strict and never wanting on the context in any respect, I’m exaggerating a bit, that’s not going to be our line,” Yeşilgöz stated. “However being very versatile and truly making issues much less clear and extra advanced isn’t our line both. Europe have to be a steady cooperation, and clear monetary agreements are essential to this finish.”


Though the VVD is main within the polls, the race is much from completed. 

The primary problem for Yeşilgöz throughout the marketing campaign has been to persuade voters that she needs renewal regardless of her social gathering being in energy for greater than a decade. 

The previous 13 years a variety of issues have been going effectively, she stated, pointing to the truth that The Netherlands weathered the financial disaster and coronavirus pandemics comparatively safely.

“On the identical time, if you zoom in and see that many individuals with regular jobs and incomes lie awake at night time due to their payments … so I can’t say that issues are going effectively for everybody,” she stated. 

“On prime of that there have been up to now years some blind spots,” she stated. These included the poor dealing with of compensation claims in relation to earthquake harm in Groningen and a childcare advantages fiasco through which 1000’s of individuals, usually dual-nationals, had been incorrectly labeled fraudsters. “It’s evident that we’ve realized from that and wish to forestall new blind spots from showing.”

And what of her former lader, Rutte? He was noticed in Brussels earlier this month on a go to to NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg, after hinting he want to take over the place on the prime of the army alliance himself. 

Requested whether or not Rutte was gunning to steer NATO, Yeşilgöz laughed.“Wherever he finally ends up, that group may be very fortunate to have him,” she stated. 

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