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Netherlands elections - Greens disappointed but not defeated

GroenLinks suffers in tough election

GroenLinks

The results are in, and they are not positive for the EGP’s member party GroenLinks. In a tough election that focused mostly on the battle for the top spot between the centre right Liberals of VVD, the social democrats of PvdA and the left wing Socialist Party, GroenLinks was largely squeezed out of voters consideration. The party had also recently just undergone a leadership election that emphasized internal problems the party had been experiencing. Although the party is on its way to overcome these problems, the timing of the early elections was not helpful in this sense.

The final result of the election was nonetheless surprising in other ways. Both VVD and PvdA did far better than expected, gaining 41 and 39 seats respectively. The Socialists made no gains at all, staying on 15 seats, having lost all their early momentum. The populist far right Freedom Party and their anti-European platform was roundly rejected, and they lost 8 of their 24 seats. It seems that the Netherlands is returning to its historical two party plus system, with dominant centre right and centre left parties vying to lead governments with other smaller parties.

The most likely coalition now is between the two largest parties, PvdA and VVD. They might look to other parties, such as the social liberals of D66 (12 seats) or the Christian Democrats of CDA (13 seats) to get a majority of seats in the Senate also, where they are short of a majority by 6 seats.

For GroenLinks, there is some solace. The Dutch electorate have once again shown their strong commitment to the EU and the European project, by endorsing the pro European parties and shunning the Eurosceptics of the SP and the PVV. The party still has a very strong presence in local government and the European Parliament, with three fantastic MEPs. Their five seats in the Senate will allow them to maintain influence over legislation. At time of going to press, it is also now seems likely that the party will get one more seat in the House of Representatives through an electoral alliance with PvdA and the SP, but the final results might not be known before Monday.

What is certain now is a process of rebuilding the party, of developing their profile and platform in order to recapture the attention and the trust of the Dutch electorate.

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