The GroenLinks list for the Senate elections looks different from the draft list presented to members after Saturday’s congress. The first five places remained unchanged, although candidate Daan Roovers (fifth place) received only one percentage point more votes than her opponent. Party colleague Noortje Thijssen was moved from eighth to sixth place.
Thijssen is director of the scientific office of GroenLinks and was in the news this week because she and her Social Democratic colleague Tim ‘S Jongers, director of the Wiardi Beckman Foundation, presented a vision for cooperation between the PvdA and GroenLinks. Green Left voters also elected Menno van der Ven from ninth to seventh place. He particularly stressed the importance of having more young people on the list.
Party Chairman Paul Rosenmöller admitted that he had mixed feelings about musical chairs. He stressed that members are in control, but finds it “still sour” that current Senator Roel van Gurp, a “dear colleague” who was in sixth place, was relegated to ninth. “Then we should get at least nine seats,” said the current GroenLinks party leader.
At the PvdA, however, the list remained unchanged, but that doesn’t mean it was accepted without grumbling. The list the party leadership submitted to congress differed significantly from the recommendation of a committee headed by former party leader Job Cohen. As a result, incumbent senators Ruud Koole and Hamit Karakus were placed in ineligible seats. They subsequently withdrew.
Several members asked the party leadership for clarification and received support from the floor. Chairwoman Esther-Mirjam Sent explained that putting together a list of candidates is a “complicated puzzle” in which all possible interests are weighed. Not everyone was happy with that, but there was little grumbling about the process.
Congresses are mainly about cooperation between the parties. Rosenmöller stressed at the congress that after 20 years of right-wing politics under former Prime Minister Jan-Peter Balkenende (CDA) and his successor Mark Rutte, the Netherlands could take a different course. Incidentally, the PvdA was also involved in governing coalitions with both prime ministers.
Cooperation with the Social Democrats is particularly important because of the “power of numbers,” Rosenmöller said in his speech. Rutte would have to take the “route via the left” if PvdA and GroenLinks were soon to form the largest parliamentary group together, Rosenmöller claimed. The senator and former party leader hopes to have at least nine GroenLinks members in that group. The party currently has eight seats in the Senate.