It is a story that the last elections keep returning: the decimation on the left. In this years Second Chamber elections, it is no different. Once again, the left parties seem to be taking considerable blows.
After the giga loss of 29 seats in 2017, the PvdA expected to grow again. All polls pointed to that. Except for the one we were talking about, the exit poll. It shows complete stagnation. Nine seats remain nine seats. The other left-wing parties, GroenLinks and SP, are going to lose considerably according to the preliminary forecast of the ANP. Other parties that you might describe as links, the Christian Union and Think, remain the same or lose a seat. Only the Party for the Animals wins one, and at 1 the Chamber seems to be just out of reach – again, all according to the preliminary forecast of the ANP press agency.
The loss account of the classic left-wing parties is not lying about it. In 2006, the PvdA, GroenLinks and the SP reached 65 seats. Four years later, there were 55. In 2012, a mini-revival followed to 57 seats, but in 2017 it collapsed to 37. This year the three parties together seem to be about the size of D66.
In the coming days and weeks, we will again look hard for explanations as to why the left-wing story does not seem to be starting. To be punished for the implementation of right-wing government policy, such as the PvdA four years ago, is not right now. And at first glance it also seemed that left-wing issues could have dominated these elections, partly because of the coronacrisis: care, job insecurity, growing inequality, a stalled housing market.
But perhaps the problem is that the right parties also realised that these issues are now important, say several people. Political reporter Arjen Noorlander: “All parties have become a little left, which has meant that voters no longer have to go to the PvdA or SP for those views.”
Lilian Marijnissen reacted disappointed to the results:
Noorlander refers, among other things, to the minimum wage. Were you previously relied on the left side of the political spectrum, nowadays even the VVD advocates raising the minimum wage. A party such as the CDA, which has traditionally been in the corner of employers, believes that the flexibility of the labour market has been broken. More permanent contracts should become the norm. Left parties have been arguing for this for years.
According to political reporter Xander van der Wulp, for example, retaliates with the SP that leader Lilian Marijnissen may have leaked too much to cabinet participation in recent years: “The constituency is sensitive. Many want to be more of an action party.”
Eckling to the government
But perhaps the biggest loser in this election is the Green Left of Jesse Klaver. In 2017, Klaver had a roaring entrance as a leader during a Second Chamber Election. The party rose from four to fourteen seats. GroenLinks was not so much a party, but a fresh movement, aided by hip meet-ups, so was the analysis. Clover seemed to have the tide to lead the left-wing opposition into the Chamber.
But he was regularly overshadowed by Lodewijk Asscher of the PvdA. Although his party had almost completely collapsed and was blamed for having carried out VVD policy for four years in Cabinet Rutte II, at the same time it gave him the space to set himself against his former coalition partner.
Jesse Clover of GroenLinks did not want to immediately analyze why his party lost:
Clover just got to the feet that he had terminated negotiations on participation in Rutte-III because of disagreement over a hypothetical new refugee deal. In the following years, GroenLinks often hinted that they would like to sit in a subsequent cabinet.
Among other things, in the coronacrisis, this led to questions whether GroenLinks was critical enough on the cabinet. The party now returns almost half. A quarter of the voters who voted on the Green Left last time have switched to D66. Those voters are almost certain of one thing: that the party they have now voted on is in the coming cabinet.