New left & right wing parties formed ahead of upcoming elections
Once again, there will be new additions to the ballot for parliamentary elections in March. After an escalation within the Party for Animals and an unhappy relationship with 50Plus, Femke Merel van Kooten-Arissen has announced that she will set up her own party: Splinter. Ex-Forum for Democracy (FvD) members Joost Eerdmans and Annabel Nanninga will also be on the ballot with their own party, JA21.
Van Kooten-Arissen is aiming for an inclusive group of voters. Splinter seeks to become the “green, progressive, liberal, social democratic” voice currently missing in the Lower House of Parliament (Tweede Kamer). This was stated in the party’s provisional election program.
“I’m tired of boxed-thinking,” she explains. “Current identity politics consciously pits people against each other. Green is the opposite of people who may subconsciously pollute; black is the opposite of white. While a lot of people have problems that transcend these boxes.”
Her experiences with the Party for Animals and 50Plus were the main reasons that made Van Kooten-Arissen realize that a more cohesive political program is needed. “What was the reason why I didn’t fit in with those parties? I thought about that carefully.”
Former FvD founder Henk Otten still has doubts about her place on the increasingly fuller ballot paper. “it will be an enormously fragmented landscape now,” he said. Van Kooten-Arissen is also not the only new addition to the list. Former FvD members Eerdmans and Nanninga announced on Friday that they would also start their own party, JA21. They argue that “there is a need for a decent right-wing party.”
Several weeks ago, the duo announced that they would be leaving the Forum for Democracy. The reason was the ongoing power struggle with the party’s leader, Thierry Baudet. They no longer wanted to be a member of a party that tolerates “extremist views.”
JA21 presents itself as “a descent right-wing party,” which is currently missing in the Tweede Kamer, according to Eerdmans and Nanninga. “JA 21 stands for Joost and Annabel. And 2021 is the year in which it must happen,” says Eerdmans. “At the same time, JA (yes) stands for the right approach, the answer to the problems in the Netherlands,” he adds.
The new party focuses on classic right-wing themes. “We are in favor of strict immigration and a European Union where the Dutch interest comes first. And we want the climate agreement to be dropped immediately. That agreement costs us a lot of money,” said Eerdmans.
These two new additions bring the total number of parties registered for parliamentary elections to 64. The deadline for registering a party with the Electoral Council closed on Monday, December 21. This list is thus the final selection for the upcoming elections in March. Code Oranje, led by the former PVV MP Richard de Mos, will also be on the ballot for the first time.