Lawmaker Caroline van der Plas, leader of the populist BBB Farmer-Citizen Movement, reacts after casting her vote for the provincial elections in Okkenbroek, eastern Netherlands, Wednesday, March 15, 2023. (AP Photo/Peter Dejong)
Voters dealt a hammer blow to the Dutch establishment in Wednesday’s regional elections, propelling the Farmer-Citizen Movement (BBB) to become the largest party in the Senate in just its first election.
Exit polls projected the movement will win 15 seats in the Dutch upper chamber as voters sent a clear message to Mark Rutte’s government over its planned nitrogen emissions laws campaigners say will devastate the country’s agricultural sector.
“The Dutch have clearly shown that they are fed up with the policy,” BBB leader Caroline van der Plas told De Telegraaf late on Wednesday. “I’m going to party.”
“The turnaround has started. The voters have spoken and have denounced support of this government,” she added in a tweet.
“She did very well,” Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte admitted, whose People’s Party for Freedom and Democracy (VVD) saw its projected seats fall from the current 12 to 10.