There will be general elections next March, and the dozen-plus-a-few Dutch parties are preparing for them. It’s time for another series of party profiles. We’ll go in order from small to large according to the August 2020 polls.
Today we start with 50Plus and its split-off, the PvdT. I already treated the split-off itself. See also this update.
For the older history of 50Plus, the party for the angry elderly, please re-read the 2012 profile I wrote.
50Plus started the 2017 parliament with four seats, and won three senators and one European seat in 2019. It was temporarily reinforced by PvdD-defector Van Kooten, but then lost party leader Krol and Van Kooten, bringing it back to three seats. Also it lost its MEP to the CDA.
50Plus mostly consists of former mid-to-high-level PvdA and VVD politicians who hope for an extended lease of political life.
Current emergency party leader Van Rooijen is a typical example of this type: a former PvdA state secretary who saw his personal prospects dim and decided to switch to 50Plus. Newly re-elected party chairman (and original party founder) Jan Nagel has exactly the same profile.
As to MEP Manders, he is a former VVD politician and MEP who was refused a next term (the VVD has term limits for European parlementarians) and then defected to 50Plus. His resignation from 50Plus was caused by the Krol-Van Kooten row, but he couldn’t return to the VVD because of the term limits, so he went to the CDA instead. I mean, a European seat is a European seat.
With charismatic party leader Krol gone and the party in disarray, its electoral prospects are dim. Frankly, it surprises me it’s still at one seat in the polls. Its prospects depend on two things: peace and quiet within the party — fat chance with Nagel in charge again — and a complete failure on the part of split-off PvdT, where Krol struck an alliance with FvD-defector Otten — which is rather more likely.
Update: Current party leader Van Rooijen will not lead 50Plus in the new elections. Instead, the members will elect a new party leader from 14 candidates. It does not appear any of these candidates is well-known in the country. For a large, stable party that does not matter, but for 50Plus it will.
As to the PvdT, it is entirely unclear to me what it’s going to achieve. Originally the party of former 50Plus leader Krol, it was reinforced by a FvD split-off headed by former organiser and chairman Otten.
The PvdT has one seat in the polls, and I see this mostly as a function of Henk Krol’s personal charisma. Whether that charisma will hold until the elections is an open question.
Another unclear point is the exact party profile. Krol brings his angry-elderly message, while Otten brings a far-right-but-not-fascist one. These messages can be reconciled; in fact Wilders’s electoral success is founded on people who are very conservative about minorities and immigration, but somewhat left wing when it comes to the welfare state. The PvdT’s problem, of course, is that Wilders is already succesfully occupying that niche in Dutch politics. I doubt whether the new party will be able to change that.
Meanwhile Otten has a chip on his shoulder about his resignation from the FvD, and I think that on a personal level he’d prefer to go after Baudet. Still, that won’t happen with a centre-left economic policy.
In the end, the question is whether Krol or Otten will dominate the new party. Right now I’d say they’re fairly well balanced, with Krol having the charisma and Otten the money. Money winning out over charisma is a fairly predictable outcome, but on the other hand, money alone doens’t bring you seats.
Anyway, I give the PvdT 0 to 1 seat, unless Wilders or Baudet do something monumentally stupid. There just isn’t enough electoral breathing space for a third far-right party that isn’t even entirely far-right.
<— Again small parties | Party profiles — DENK —>
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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