Dutch Kurd Dilan Yeşilgöz-Zegerius’s party currently leading Dutch exit polls

The party of Dutch-Kurdish politician Dilan Yeşilgöz-Zegerius is currently leading in the exit polls for the elections taking place tomorrow.
VVD leader and Justice Minister Dilan Yeşilgöz-Zegerius spoke to Kurdistan 24’s Barzan Hassan in Brussels, Sept. 28, 2023 (Photo: Kurdistan 24)
VVD leader and Justice Minister Dilan Yeşilgöz-Zegerius spoke to Kurdistan 24’s Barzan Hassan in Brussels, Sept. 28, 2023 (Photo: Kurdistan 24)

ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – The political party of Dilan Yeşilgöz-Zegerius, the liberal-conservative People's Party for Freedom and Democracy (VVD) party, is currently leading in the exit polls for the Dutch elections taking place tomorrow. This could lead her to become the first Dutch Prime Minister of Kurdish descent.

A poll by Ipsos on Tuesday also said that there are currently three parties in the lead for the elections that will take place on Nov. 22: the VVD (29), the anti-Islam party PVV (Party for Freedom) (27) and the leftwing alliance GroenLinks (GreenLeft)/PvdA (Labour Party)(24). This is followed by Pieter Omtzigt’s New Social Contract (NSC) with 19 seats, which includes Yezidi candidate Wahhab Hassoo.

Read More: Dutch Yezidi hopes to become MP after elections

PvdA-GroenLinks is an alliance of the Labor (PvdA) and Green (GL) parties, led by Frans Timmermans, the former Executive Vice President of the European Commission. The Dutch MP Omzigt split from the Christian Democratic Appeal (CDA) in 2021, and created a new party a few months ago.

However, Ipsos said that compared to the previous poll last week, there are two notable shifts in voter preferences. The PVV increases by 10 seats, while the NSC actually decreases compared to a week ago by 7 seats and goes from 26 to 19.

“The major shifts in the PVV and NSC show how volatile voter preferences are at the moment. It cannot therefore be ruled out that further major shifts will take place,” Ipsos said.

“That is why it is good to emphasize that a poll is not a prediction. The ratios presented on this page are based on the current party preference of voters. We know from experience that seats can still shift until the last day.”

“This is clearly visible when we look at the voting security of voters. A week ago, during our measurement from November 10 to 13, almost half of the people who are 'definitely' or 'probably' going to vote in the elections said that they already have a strong preference for a party. The other half still had doubts, to a greater or lesser extent, between different parties,” Ipsos underlined.

An exit poll by Politico, also showed that the VVD is leading the polls with 18% percent of the votes, followed by the PVV 16%, the leftwing GreenLeft/PvDA (Labor-Green) alliance with 16%, and by Omtzigt’s NSC with 15% of the votes.

“Dilan Yeşilgöz has replaced Mark Rutte at the helm of VVD, which leads the polls along with Peter Omtzigt's new NSC party, and Frans Timmerman’s alliance of the Labor and Green parties,” Politico said.

“It marks a historic moment in the Netherlands and Kurdistan, as Dilan, with a Kurdish background, arrived in the Netherlands at the age of 7 as a political refugee. Her father, a Kurdish activist, faced life-threatening situations in Turkey due to his activities,” Dindar Kocer, a Dutch Kurdish political analyst, told Kurdistan 24.

“Dilan now has a remarkable opportunity to become the first Dutch Prime Minister. As a woman with a migrant background, her candidacy holds special significance. This is particularly noteworthy for the Kurdish community, given her Kurdish heritage and the Netherlands' status as an ally of Kurdistan. The Netherlands has been supportive of the Peshmerga and the fight against ISIS.”

“Current polls indicate that the VVD is leading, presenting a strong chance for the formation of a right-wing government. While a new party led by Omzigt has emerged, Dilan's party seems to be leading in the polls. Additionally, there are left-wing parties, the Green Labour alliance led by Timmermans', but it seems competing with Dilan for votes may prove challenging for the leftwing parties: The VVD has a loyal voter base, and Dilan, having previously served as a minister, has garnered support for her past accomplishments."

He also said Dilan's family fled Turkey for political reasons. “If she becomes the Prime Minister and visits Turkey, it would be a significant event, shedding light on the political situation. Moreover, such a visit has the potential to cast the Turkish government in an unfavorable light."

In mid-August, Yeşilgöz-Zegerius took over leadership of the VVD party, succeeding the outgoing Dutch PM Mark Rutte, who stepped down in July.

“We are having elections and I hope that my party will be the biggest,” she told Kurdistan 24’s Barzan Hassan in September. “And then maybe [I will become the next] Prime Minister, but first [we will hold] elections.”

Earlier, the departing Dutch PM Rutte told Kurdistan 24 that he naturally hopes Yeşilgöz-Zegerius will become the next PM, "but that's up to the voters."

Read More: Netherlands eyes judicial cooperation with Kurdistan Region on ISIS crimes: Justice Minister

Yeşilgöz-Zegerius also paid a visit to Erbil and Baghdad in May 2022, during which she met Kurdistan Region Prime Minister Masrour Barzani and discussed the importance of continuing support for the Kurdistan Region to confront ISIS and provide assistance to victims of the group's crimes.