March 19, 2023 at 09:12
CNN —A farmers’ protest party in the Netherlands has caused a shock after winning provincial elections this week just four years after their founding.
The Farmer-Citizen Movement or BoerburgerBeweging (BBB) grew out of mass demonstrations against the Dutch government’s environmental policies, protests that saw farmers using their tractors to block public roads.
The BBB is now set to become the largest party in the Dutch senate.
The developments have thrown the Dutch government’s ambitious environmental plans into doubt and are being watched closely by the rest of Europe.
The movement was powered by ordinary farmers but has become an unlikely front in the culture wars.
‘Monster victory’On Wednesday, the Farmer-Citizen Movement landed a large win in regional elections, winning more seats in the senate than Prime Minister Mark Rutte’s conservative VVD party.
Results on Thursday showed the BBB party had won the most votes in eight of the country’s 12 provinces.
The BBB party has fought back against the measures – which include buying farmers out and reducing livestock numbers – instead placing emphasis on the farmers’ livelihoods that are at risk of being destroyed.
Farmers have protested against the government’s green policies by blocking government buildings with tractors and dumping manure on motorways.
“One of the tactics used by the Dutch farmers’ protest movement has been using tractors to create blockades.
International interest in the farmers’ protest movement, and this method of protest, really grew in 2022 not long after the Canadian trucker convoy that was organized and promoted by a number of far-right figures in Canada, the US and internationally too,” he said.
“It remains to be seen whether the Farmer-Citizen Movement will present itself as a far-right party.”