New push to "couple" Labor with GroenLinks; Not all Labour members thrilled
PvdA prominent figures Marjolein Moorman and Frans Timmermans want to intensify cooperation with GroenLinks and even envision a "coupling," the two said in an opinion piece in the Volkskrant. Over the past days, both Moorman and Timmermans were mentioned as the possible successor to Lilianne Ploumen, the PvdA (Labour) leader who recently resigned.
The two believe that "a breakthrough" is needed to move the country forward and tackle major issues like the pandemic, climate crisis, war, increasing inequality, and declining livelihoods. "We believe that further cooperation, and even coupling with GroenLinks, can be that breakthrough. Simply because we are stronger together."
"If we want to give freedom, equality, and solidarity a content that enables us to eradicate injustice, fight inequality, and replace egotism and cynicism with solidarity, we will have to choose a clear social and green course," Amsterdam alderman Moorman and European Commissioner Timmermans wrote. According to them, this course has also helped the Social Democrats in other European countries.
While GroenLinks politicians reacted enthusiastically to the appeal from Moorman and Timmermans, PvdA MPs are keeping a low profile for the time being. Other prominent social democrats have hardly responded to the appeal from their party members in the Volkskrant.
"Strong argument," GroenLinks party leader Jesse Klaver tweeted. "Progressive Netherlands is stronger together!" His party members Corinne Ellemeet, Suzanne Kröger and Laura Bromet also responded on Twitter they agreed with the argument of the two PvdA members.
"In recent years, we have seen that there are many more similarities than differences between our parties," Bromet writes.
GroenLinks Senate faction leader Paul Rosenmöller went a step further. On NPO Radio 1 he proposed a "joint faction" in the Senate after next year's elections. If that turns out to be a success, the parties could even consider a joint parliamentary group, said Rosenmöller. The former party leader does not even rule out a "joint prime minister candidate."
Former MP Kathalijne Buitenweg called the plea "courageous," saying fragmentation affects the "striking power of parliament." She continued, "Time to really do something about it now," a sentiment shared by former party chair Bram van Oijk.
The PvdA members have been much quieter. MPs Henk Nijboer and Attje Kuiken, both mentioned as a possible successor or interim successor to Ploumen have not yet responded despite a request to comment. On Twitter they did not address the subject, nor did other members of the group.
The collaboration between the two parties intensified under Ploumen's leadership, but she previously received criticism from former PvdA chairman Hans Spekman, among others. Ploumen is an outspoken supporter of continuing the collaboration, and has often worked with Klaver. They locked arms with each other during talks about the Cabinet formation last year, and both groups decided in December to cooperate "without obligation" on fifteen themes.
Reportedly, long-time party members such as Nijboer and Kuiken are not interested in intensive cooperation, while newcomers such as Kati Piri are open to it. For GroenLinks MP Bart Snels, this collaboration was a reason to resign in October last year. Spekman is also strongly against the two parties joining forces. The members of both parties have already agreed to more cooperation.
The PvdA now has nine of the 150 seats in the Tweede Kamer, and GroenLinks has eight.
Reporting by ANP