Party profile — PvdD

The Dutch nine-to-twelve-party system is sometimes hard to understand for foreigners; especially when the small parties come into play. Therefore, just like in 2010, I’m running a mini-series that treats all eleven parties that stand a decent chance of winning seats. We’ll go from smallest to largest.

Today we’ll continue with animal-rights party PvdD.

Flashback

Full name
Partij voor de Dieren
Translation
Animal Party
Party leader
Marianne Thieme, since 2002
Government
Never
In parliament since
2006
Block
Single Issue
Type
Witness party
Economics
Left
Current seats
2
Website
partijvoordedieren.nl

The PvdD is in parliament to defend animals, and is thus a witness party. It was founded in 2002 and entered parliament in 2006.

The 2010 profile gives a little more information on the party’s earlier history.

Its unique point is the focus on animal rights, so it should come as no surprise that the PvdD takes every opportunity to promote those. Some attempts are more succesful than others.

Of ritual slaughter and political mice

The biggest success so far was the proposal to end ritual slaughter used by both Jews and Muslims as being cruel to animals.

Although the christian parties tended to defend the right of religions to their own rituals, the PVV was interested in the anti-Muslim angle, and the left, as well as the VVD, in the anti-cruelty angle. Thus the proposal seemed to cruise to an easy victory.

Matters came to a stand-still in the Senate, after a fierce Jewish and Islamic lobby that even led to some international protests against the law. The VVD switched sides, while the left-wing parties, always afraid of being accused of monoculturalism, started to doubt the wisdom of proceeding. That’s where the law stands now.

Note, however, that the PVV still supports the proposal, and for more than just cheap anti-Muslim brownie points. The party has genuine concern over animal welfare, and forced government into creating a corps of “animal cops,” an idea that is generally ridiculed by the press, most other parties, and the police.

The case of the politicised mice confirms this tie. Currently the parliamentary residence is infested by mice, against which traps were deployed. The PvdD subsequentely replaced the traps by non-lethal ones, followed by PVV MP Dion Graus, a noted animal rights defender. Since there was no other political news, a few rodent infestation specialists were asked for their opinions, and the matter was ended by re-tabling the old CDA proposal to appoint a parliamentary cat.

This was of course an innocent bit of political folklore, but remember the PVV link.

Outlook

The PvdD will remain in parliament and might grow to three or even four seats.

Support is concentrated in the West, especially in the province of Noord-Holland, which contains Amsterdam. However, there was a row just before the 2010 elections (see here under Programmes and party lists) which cost the party a distinct slice of its Amsterdam support, and the party barely held on to its second seat.

One of the metrics to watch is whether the PvdD’s vote share in Noord-Holland will again be significantly higher than in the rest of the country. That’s where the third seat has to come from.

Given the confused situation, it might even be asked to support a government. Although all in all the PvdD would do best to align with the left, it cannot but help to notice the genuine animal welfare streak in the PVV. That makes for interesting combinations, and currently I consider a PVV/PvdD coalition theoretically possible.

On the other hand, the PvdD and that other noted PVV supporter, the SGP, don’t mix at all. Too many SGP voters are dairy or meat farmers who are not impressed with animal rights, God having given dominion and all that. The two parties are antithetical and will not cooperate.

So all in all a left-wing coalition in need of two or three more seats is the PvdD’s best chance.

<— Against the Eastern Europeans, and never mind the Muslims | Party profile — CU —>

This is the political blog of Peter-Paul Koch, mobile platform strategist, consultant, and trainer, in Amsterdam. It’s a hobby blog where he follows Dutch politics for the benefit of those twelve foreigners that are interested in such matters, as well as his Dutch readers.

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