GroenLinks and PvdA: not without each other in next cabinet

The Left opposition parties Green Left and the PvdA do not want to be part of a new cabinet without each other, after the next parliamentary elections in March next year. They haven‘t formally agreed or recorded anything yet. But five months before the Second Chamber elections, party leaders Klaver and Asscher unequivocally express themselves in favour of close cooperation: only together in a coalition, or together in the opposition. And they also want the third left-wing opposition party, the SP, to join.

Asscher was the first to come with it, last Sunday at the presentation of his party’s election program. He said he didn‘t want to step into a cabinet without left-wing allies. And that, according to him, does not mean without GroenLinks and/or the SP:,, So it is. We learned our lessons, which were quite expensive lessons. With this he referred to the previous cabinet period, when the PvdA ruled alone with the VVD. This led to the biggest election defeat ever in Dutch politics for the PvdA.

Left engine

Groenlinks foreman Jesse Klaver responds to Asscher’s statement when asked: We want a left engine and the PvdA and GroenLinks are a very logical combination. The SP shows that she wants to be in a next cabinet, so I can also imagine that the SP will join in. And if D66 really wants to turn left, I am also happy with D66, but at least the PvdA and GroenLinks.

Klaver also says: I have actually made exactly the same statement as Lodewijk Asscher: we only want to be in a cabinet with other left-wing parties, at least the PvdA. Preferably participate together. And if that doesn‘t work, you don’t join us.

Party leader Lilian Marijnissen of the SP would find it mighty beautiful if the left parties succeeded in forming such a ‘left engine bloc’ that could take the lead in the formation next year. Those parties are closest to us ideologically. Other parties may also join as far as it is concerned.

In contrast to 2017, this time the SP does not exclude the VVD pertinent, said Marijnissen earlier. But the differences with that party are so great that it considers that the chances of government cooperation are very small. GroenLinks and the PvdA do not exclude the VVD either, although they prefer to rule without that party.

Large disagreements

The statements of Klaver and Asscher in particular can have a major influence on the formation of the cabinet next year. Together they stand at about 30 seats in the polls, they hope for more. If they do not let go of each other, they are in a position to make more demands together than if they negotiate separately and let themselves play against each other.

Over the past decades, cooperation has been discussed many times by the left-wing parties. In practice, this never succeeded, mostly because the PvdA was generally larger and often part of cabinets, causing major differences of opinion with the other two.

The current situation is different in that both the Green Left and the SP and the PvdA are now part of the opposition and the political groups do not differ much in size. GroenLinks and the SP each have 14 seats and the PvdA 9.