Left-wing parties PvdA and GroenLinks vote to team up for November election

The Dutch Labor party, PvdA, and left-wing Green party colleagues, GroenLinks, will take part in the 2023 parliamentary election this November as one faction. Members of both parties have expressed their broad support in a referendum for the two sides to submit a joint list of candidates and a joint platform.

Almost 92 percent of GroenLinks members voted in favor of teaming up with Labor. Over 87 percent of Labor members agreed with the proposal, the GroenLinks referendum committee and the PvdA presidium announced at a special meeting in Utrecht on Monday. Members have had seven days to vote on the decision to join forces for the November 22 election, much like they did ahead of the Provincial Council elections several months ago.

Support for the two parties to continue working together was expected, but there was shock and enthusiasm at the massive vote in favor of uniting the two parties where members of PvdA and GroenLinks had gathered in Utrecht. The political parties are now looking ahead towards the election campaign. Both left-wing opposition parties have been working together for some time, but the end of the fourth Cabinet of Prime Minister Mark Rutte accelerated their plans.

It is not yet known who will be the leader of the joint party. The names of some prominent Labor politicians have been making the rounds, including European Commissioner Frans Timmermans and Rotterdam Mayor Ahmed Aboutaleb.

Both GroenLinks leader Jesse Klaver and PvdA leader Attje Kuiken announced that they wanted to enter into the election campaign together immediately after the fall of the Cabinet. The two leaders said they want to join forces in a fragmented political landscape. Neither has speculated on who the party leader could be if their members voted to create one faction ahead of the election. Klaver did announce last week that he has become a member of PvdA.

PvdA Chair Esther-Mirjam Sent did take a moment, and reflected on the opponents, whom she called “involved and loyal.” She stated on Monday, “I see it as our task to allay your concerns.”

Even with members of the two parties giving the green light, it does not mean that both parties will merge. They will remain as two parties, but with one faction in the Tweede kamer, the lower house of Parliament. In the Eerste Kamer, the Dutch Senate, both parties pressed ahead to create a single faction in May following the Provincial Council elections. That group is led by GroenLinks Senator Paul Rosenmöller.

When the supporters of the two parties were allowed to vote on the merger in the Senate last year, the proposal received wide ranging support in both parties. At a Labor conference, about 77 percent signaled their approval, while 80 percent supported the Senate merger at GroenLinks.

Reporting by ANP

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