PvdA and GroenLinks: only together in cabinet, but doubt about Rutte

Brotherly Lilianne Ploumen (PvdA) and Jesse Klaver (GroenLinks) pull up during this formation. Theyre not very happy at the VVD and the CDA with that block. But the two left-wing parties have been saying it for months: we are only going to join in a possible cabinet. What does their own constituents think about this, are they waiting for a Cabinet Rutte IV with the Green Left and the PvdA?

Newshour moved into the country and spoke to dozens of local politicians from GroenLinks and PvdA. Like Toine van de Ven, who has experience in close cooperation between the two parties: he is alderman on behalf of both GroenLinks and the PvdA. In Vught, the parties have been raising as one political group for twenty years. โ€œYes, that works very well, we have grown together over the last 20 years.โ€

According to him, it would also be possible in The Hague, although it would have to be more than some sharp edges of government policy. โ€œWhen we step in, a recognizable left and progressive profile has to be created.โ€ That sound comes back to all four: as long as there is something to get on content, cabinet participation can be worthwhile. โ€œWe all know that you can do more in the cabinet than in the opposition,โ€ says Yara Hรผmmels (PvdA), group chairman Enschede.

With a combination of VVD, D66, CDA, PvdA and GroenLinks, the cabinet would have a large majority of 90 seats – 76 is necessary for a majority. โ€œThe advantage is that a member of parliament or a party can vote deviating once,โ€ says Paul Vermast, chairman of the group of GroenLinks Dronten. โ€œThen you do not immediately have a cabinet crisis. This can also promote the requested dualism.โ€

Above all, the four hope that the two parties will be able to pull a new cabinet together a little more to the left, for example when it comes to climate policy. โ€œSeventeen seats are substantial, that is more than nine,โ€ says Hetty Janssen, chairman of the Pvda Group in the Provincial States of Friesland. โ€œAnd dont forget: D66 is also a party that wants to deal with climate. On these themes you have a pretty green group in the cabinet.โ€

The elephant in the room

What all four of them – to a greater or lesser extent – are struggling with is Mark Rutte. โ€œHe has stood for the culture of governance over the past ten years,โ€ says Van de Ven. โ€œWe have to break with that; wanting it alone is not enough. There must be clear agreements so that it does not stick to fine words.โ€


the beginning of April, the entire opposition – including the PvdA and the Green Left – agreed to a motion of no confidence against the demissionary Prime Minister. Can you still be in a cabinet with each other? โ€œThere is doubt yesโ€, recognizes Hรผmmels. โ€œFor me, I dont think Rutte is the right person anymore. We will have to have good conversations about that.โ€

โ€œ You know, I think you should be a little pragmatic about that too,โ€ says Vermast. โ€œRutte is exemplary for the culture of governance, but he is not the only one, it is much broader. I would have preferred another Prime Minister, but the VVD has received so many votes, you cannot ignore that, that is a political reality.โ€

So, although no one is very pleased with the idea of Rutte as Prime Minister, it seems to be a sacrifice that these four are willing to do – provided that there is a profit on left-wing spearheads. โ€œWe are not necessarily eager to work with the CDA and VVD,โ€ says Hรผmmels. โ€œBut if we put the content first, I hope that those parties will also move towards us.โ€

Back to Vught, where this coalition already exists at municipal level. โ€œI have the experience that you can make good appointments with the VVDโ€, says Van de Ven. โ€œWe will assess the coalition agreement on its content. But there must also be a team that shows that we want to deal with our citizens in a different way.โ€