The misery of the traditional centrist parties

The misery of the traditional centrist parties

The departure of Lillian Blumen, barely a year in power, plunged PvdA into misery once again. Since the premature departure of Job Cohen, who was destined to become prime minister but found himself in an opposition role in which he did not feel at home, Labor has exhausted one political leader after another. Diederik Samsom was successful, but Ludewijk was recalled after one term, which lasted just over four years. Stumbled upon the allowance issue. And now Bloom’s end is drawing near. With just over two years of driving, it is one of the shortest tenures of PvdA leaders.

Although Blumen’s decision has been accepted as a valuable expression of self-knowledge, her passing should come as no surprise. Never living up to her role as a leader, never playing a leading role in the debate, she was stunned orally by Jesse Claver in the discussion about a merger with GroenLinks and the loss of Cabinet involvement. It failed to bring back voters who had abandoned the party. And the way Gijs van Dijk was kicked out of the set for special occasions, wasn’t worthy of a beauty award either. Soon Blumen will be forgotten as a political leader.

The PvdA will choose a new party leader next week. Atgei Quicken and Henk Niebuhr are promising. This is a temporary position. The PvdA will subsequently elect a political leader, as soon as new elections approach. Frans Timmermans, whose European adventure will end in 2024, is interested in it. This week he introduced himself by arguing in an article in NRC to merge with GroenLinks without using the word merge. Because not everyone in the PvdA is convinced of that yet.

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In a political landscape divided to the bone, with 20 parties in the House of Representatives, incorporating like-minded parties is certainly a solution. The merger of KVP, AR, and CHU with CDA in 1980 was a good thing for Christian politics; PPR, PSP, and CPN also received a new boost as GroenLinks. The now merger of PvdA and GroenLinks, with or without SP, will give the left a boost and perhaps an important role again. But for that you need leaders who can convince their supporters. Claver succeeded at GroenLinks. Timmermans and Aboutaleb should be able to do this in PvdA. But also Marjolin Moormann, the successful party leader in Amsterdam who made the PvdA the biggest party in the capital once again.

The traditional centrist parties are going through hard times. CDA without a friendly leader is just a shadow of what it used to be, PvdA has been sitting in the corner where hits are falling for years. Looks like VVD just got out of the woods. But this can only change if Mark Rutte stops. There is no natural heir, despite twelve years of research.

Nor did the crown prince and the intended princesses have the patience to wait (Edith Schippers) or disappeared from the scene for other reasons (Halby Zijlstra, Claes Dejkoff). And from the current generation, whose favorite is Sophie Hermans, no one has distinguished himself as the heir you cannot ignore. If VVD is not careful, it will go in the same direction as CDA and PvdA.

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The electoral platforms of the traditional parties hardly differ from each other. Potential voters are required to do their best to understand the differences. How easy it is to focus on the person of the party leader. VVD has been recording with him for twelve years. CDA missed that opportunity last year.

The PvdA knows what to do.

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