Intended harvest year GroenLinks ends in hammer blow: probably only eight seats

In 2017, the magic of the massive ‘meet ups’ dominated, the magic of the young party leader Jesse Klaver, who would change the Netherlands. The spell lasted three years, three elections long: municipalities, Europe, provinces, linked to the Senate. In it, GroenLinks grew and flourished thanks to the influx of voters.

This year should have been the harvest year. With a view to this, the party left the formation in 2017. GroenLinks wanted to come back stronger this year, with eight seats in the Senate as support.

Too much of a good thing

C.orona broke the spell. Mass gatherings were not possible, nor was intensive campaigning. But more went wrong. While the corona crisis has hit everywhere socially and financially, Klaver announced the next crisis, that of the climate. And a complete overhaul of the housing market, the tax system and so on. All real problems, but maybe it was a bit over the top for the voter.

In fact, since 2017, when GroenLinks became bigger than ever with 14 seats, Klaver saw himself as a leader ‘on the left’. But he was unable to fulfill that role. During debates he was often overshadowed by PvdA leader Lodewijk Asscher. And when he moved away from what he called “scoreboard politics,” he remained misunderstood, as he seemed to give up his opposition role.

In the campaign, Klaver made a late, unsuccessful attempt to forge a progressive block with PvdA and D66. He called on the parties to hold each other in the cabinet formation, such as VVD and CDA hold each other as a right-wing block in his eyes. The PvdA saw it that way, but the love was a bit cool. The SP did not want to commit.

Internal hassle

Internal hassles have also been a problem for GroenLinks in recent years. Crisis management is not part of the party’s DNA. Zihni Özdil was hailed on the list as a free-thinking intellectual, but left because he did not adhere to group discipline. The discussion about the background of the number nine on the current candidate list, Kauthar Bouchallikht, also gave Klaver headaches.

Perhaps the final result is not too bad for GroenLinks, but a major defeat remains. It could just be that a few with preferential votes enter the group, such as Lisa Westerveld. In 2017 she came to the Chamber on her own initiative from Nijmegen and built up fame as a spokesperson for youth care. Once the final result is known, an evaluation, also about the role and position of Klaver, is one of the best leftist traditions.

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