Party members still have to express themselves, but Lillian Blumen (PvdA) and Jesse Claver (GroenLinks) are determined to negotiate as a team to form the Cabinet. In their first joint interview, the two party leaders talked about the formation of traction and suspicion in their constituency. “Ruti and Hoekstra are the rejectionist politicians for this formation.”
They complete each other’s sentences, nod in agreement when the other speaks, laugh at each other’s jokes and walk away from differences of opinion from the past. It’s been talked about in vain for decades, but under the leadership of Lillian Blumen and Jesse Claver, it seems to be happening already: a left-wing collaboration. ‘it feels very goodClover says. “It tastes more than that,” Blumen says.
However, leaders of both parties still have to do some missionary work. Member meetings in both parties will take place on Saturday and there is definitely a grumble in the PvdA. Does the agreement with GroenLinks mean the beginning of the end of the illustrious PvdA as an independent party? And should PvdA reunite with Mark Rutte at all?
The two potential coalition parties, VVD and CDA, were unaffected by the formation of the bloc on the left during formation. The fear is that they will continue on their own after forming. GroenLinks or PvdA can vote alternately against tough Cabinet decisions, as they are not necessary for a parliamentary majority.
Do you understand the fear of VVD and CDA?
Claver: Now we’re hanging out together. Our electoral data is similar. Why should it be in our interest to vote differently later?
Blumen: ‘We even speak for each other in the House. Indeed, I understand that they think: If the progressive left joins in, things must really change. But other than that I don’t understand a single word of their objections.
So can Mark Rutte and Wopke Hoekstra count on PvdA and GroenLinks voting the same way in the coalition?
Blumen: “He, he…”
Claver: We can’t even say that. In the spring we had a full discussion on the new management culture. Every member of Parliament should be able to vote the way he wants.
Blumen: “This applies to members of our group but also to members of the VVD and CDA.”
Claver: “What we can say is that as political groups we have no intention of showing skewed voting behavior.”
Why are you so excited to negotiate with Rutte? Four months ago, PvdA and GroenLinks endorsed the no-confidence movement against him. Mrs. Blumen even likened him to the “Sun King”.
Blumen: “The problems in the Netherlands are getting worse. A year ago we said rents were too high, and now there is simply a housing shortage. And when was the last time we heard about solutions to the nitrogen crisis?”
‘We can leave that on the right and they may want to, but a million people voted for us. I really want to do my best to solve these people’s problems. If there was another right-wing government, nothing would happen for another four years. Quite simply.’
Klaver: “Based on the content, we want to assess whether we can do something for this country and whether or not it is part of an alliance.”
Do you have confidence again that Rota could be a good Prime Minister?
Blumen: “We only find out if we start talking. Then we also have to talk about the culture of the new management. I would say to others: stop this stubborn behavior and let’s try to solve problems. Holland is waiting, but nothing happens. Wopke Hoekstra says no. Mark Rutte says No.
Klaver: Something really needs to change in the way that politics works. This has not happened yet. I still see a lot of the old management culture. And most importantly, something is changing in the way major problems are addressed. We are way ahead of us. Consequences of climate change, growing inequality in education, and housing shortages. We want to solve those problems.
Am I sure Rota would like that too? new. Am I really sure? So I should finally be able to talk about the content. The big problem with this configuration is that it doesn’t happen. Content so far limited to A4 pages with piece summary written by VVD and D66 together and saying: This could be worse.
Blumen: ‘It’s not the electoral program of PvdA or GroenLinks. But we can talk about it. It stops there. There is a group of opposition politicians who will not say why they will not speak.
Klaver: In democracy and in the Dutch tradition, you talk to each other and try to achieve something. This Dutch tradition is now being broken. This can have bigger repercussions than simply taking too long to form.
Claver: There are nineteen political groups in the House, six of which are willing to cooperate if necessary. If it is not possible to have a conversation between these six, it does not bode well for the future of democracy.
Gert-Jan Segers (ChristenUnie) criticizes the piece by D66 and VVD, because freedom of education and ethical medical legislation are said to be tampered with. He sees himself as “unnecessary” and “unwanted”. Do you think Seagers should now pull out of the squad?
Blumen: We read the three-page summary. When I read it I immediately thought: I can imagine that Gert Jan Segers would look at it differently.
Is it strange that he joins the conversations with Detective Hammer?
Klaver: If I saw that there was something in it that went against the core values of my party, I would say, “Tappy.” We’ve been at it for several months now, and if you don’t want any more article-based talk, you should say so. Then you can select the options.
Aren’t you afraid the D66 will keep the option with ChristenUnie, just as it was four years ago?
Klaver: “I really see a different D66 than it was four years ago. I think Kag has expressed herself more clearly about what she wants: No preference for ChristenUnie.
On Saturday, members of the PvdA will vote on a motion calling for not to speak with Rutte. What are the consequences for your position, Mrs. Blumen, if it is accepted?
Blumen: Members are members to achieve something in politics and not just to prevent it. We want to move forward. I have every confidence in him. We are also not sure if we can achieve enough if we start negotiating. Then we’ll see. But I would like to put our solutions on the table.
If PvdA votes against negotiating with Rutte, will GroenLinks go it alone?
Klaver: Before the election I wanted to work with PvdA, after the election as well, and I still want to do it after this weekend.
So, if PvdA declines, does that mean the end of GroenLinks formation negotiations?
Klaver: “I don’t have room in my head for this scenario, because I can’t imagine our collaboration ending.”
What will be the priority of PvdA and GroenLinks in formation? Before elections we were always told: Climate is the most important thing for GroenLinks, for PvdA inequality.
Blumen: ‘Listen. The world is burning. There are a lot of problems. People don’t care whether climate is mentioned first in a sentence or inequality. The differences between our electoral platforms were not very significant. Let’s be honest about that.
Klaver: Let me speak for myself: When asked about it in the past, I often make the differences bigger than they were. In fact, we want to go in the same direction with the country. So you should not compete with each other and catch flies, but work together. We’ve now taken the first step and to be honest: it feels very good. We are only stronger. Instead of wondering how I could do it more fun or better than Lillian Blumen, I am now working on how to better achieve the views we advocate together.
Blumen: “Of course it tastes more than that. While you see a lot of fragmentation, we do things differently.
If we listen to you this way, a merger between the two is almost inevitable.
Plomin and Claver in unison: “We’ll see.”
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