What progressive change can the alliance between the GreenLeft and the Labor Party bring to the Netherlands? In anticipation of the elections scheduled for March 15, the two political parties have decided to deepen their cooperation by uniting around a common vision based on social and environmental justice.

Two years ago, the Dutch left was in tatters. After four years of centre-right government, the traditional left-wing parties – GreenLeft, Labor and Socialists – have achieved an even worse result than in the already disastrous 2017 elections. The defeat was all the more striking as the government, led by the pro-market Liberal Party, had a poor record of handling environmental issues and was forced to resign in 2021 after a years-long injustice in dealing with the worst off.

Now, two years later, the left has regained self-confidence and electoral potential thanks to extensive cooperation between the GreenLeft and the Social – democratic Labor Party.

Historically, left-wing parties have occupied a minority position in the Netherlands. In the 2021 elections, the left side of the political spectrum has become very fragmented. there are 10 parties in parliament that one could place on the Left: in addition to the Green Left and Labour, there are the just-left-of-centre D66, the left-wing populist Socialist Party, the deep-green Party for the Animals, the Christian-social Christian Union, the pan-European Volt, the party for bicultural citizens DENK, the pensioners’ party GOUD, and the intersectional-feminist BIJ1. Historically, the Left broadly defined was no larger than it is today but much less divided.

Labour’s traditional aversion to progressive co-operation began to change after the party’s pasokification in 2017 (it fell from 38 seats to 9 seats) and in particular its inability in 2021 to regain seats despite the government’s failure of centre-right to solve the environmental and social problems it had created. In 2021, the GreenLeft also lost 6 of its 14 seats.

To deal with their weakened position, GreenLeft and Labor negotiated as a bloc in the 2021 coalition talks. The duo found themselves in opposition but continue to work together. The two parties often speak for each other in parliamentary debates, hold common parliamentary group meetings and make joint plans.

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