Women wanted! Political parties want more diverse candidate lists

Political parties are looking for women. Because they are underrepresented in politics and a number of parties want to change that. For example, the PvdA wants “the most diverse list ever”, with at least half of the candidates being women. Party chairman Nelleke Vedelaar: “I’m waiting for the day when fellow party members say: well Nelleke, that’s a lot of women on the list. I think that’s a nice moment in history.”

Nieuwsuur takes a look behind the scenes at nine political parties this summer. How are they preparing for the parliamentary elections of 2021? Who will be on the candidate lists in times of corona, how do you campaign in an other half-metre society and how do you write an election programme at a distance? Together with the VVD, PvdA and DENK, we are looking at the candidate lists today.


One thing is clear to the VVD, the PvdA and DENK: the list of candidates must be diverse. DENK even passed a motion at the congress to make the list more diverse. According to intended list leader Farid Azarkan, DENK is a “super diverse club”. But according to him more men are interested in politics than women. “So I’d really like it if DENK had a very good woman at number two.”

Party chairman Vedelaar of the PvdA blames the party for the fact that there are too few people of colour in parliament. “With a lot of white people we talk about institutional racism. It is precisely those people of colour who should have been represented in the Chamber. We had them on our list, but in too few places and in ineligible places. That’s gotta be different.”

At the VVD they are looking for eighty suitable candidates for the list. Candidates who pass the integrity test and actually stay on as a member of parliament for four years. Because it regularly happens that MPs do not complete the four years. And that is a pity, according to Van der Wal. “It’s an honorable job to be an MP. I am personally of the opinion that if you sign, you should also make that period full.”

Feddler of the PvdA agrees. At the PvdA two members of parliament also left the Chamber in a short space of time: “You choose these people simply by voting, check the red box, for the full term of four years

Frame puller

The most important person on the candidate list is the head of the list. At the PvdA it is Lodewijk Asscher. After the summer, Prime Minister Mark Rutte decides whether he will again be the head of the list for the VVD. And Farid Azarkan would like to be the head of the list for DENK. With a fraction that has a more friendly tone. “I think a little less confrontation. So we’re looking for something calmer, something more collaborative. Maybe a little more analysis instead of sometimes shouting too fast and too much “look at us being there too”.”

Earlier we spoke with representatives of a number of political youth organizations. They hope for more diversity in the Chamber. “Minorities also need to be able to recognize themselves.”