With elections in the Netherlands next Wednesday, here’s a look at the second largest party and one of the two current ruling parties, the Labour Party (PvdA).
The Labour Party (Partij van de Arbeid – PvdA) is a social democratic party and was formed in 1946 from the merger of three parties: the Social Democratic Workers’ Party, the Free-thinking Democratic League and the Christian Democratic Union. The party is a centre-left party and is committed to the welfare state, as well as investment in public education and public health care.
Following a poor performance in elections in 2002, where the party came fourth with only 15% of the vote, the PvdA has become the second largest party in Dutch politics with an average of 23.2% in the last four elections.
In 2010, the party entered opposition after four years in government, after the party was unable to form a four-party coalition. Since 2010, the party has had three leaders: Job Cohen, who resigned after criticism of his performance as leader of the opposition, Diederik Samsom, who lost the leadership of the party in an election last year due to poor performance in the polls, and the current head Lodwijk Asscher.
At the last election in 2012, Labour gained 8 seats, winning a total of 38. The party joined their centre-right rivals, the VVD, in government. Although the coalition held, a rare occurrence, it was extremely unpopular as many had voted Labour or VVD to keep the other out of office.
The party is a traditional centre-right social democratic party, supporting social security and welfare, as well as public health care. Since the 1970s, the party has also endorsed women’s liberation, environmental conservation and development of the so-called Third World.
- Affordable healthcare for everyone – with no more deductibles, moving away from the market and giving power back to professionals and patients
- Eliminate the excess in healthcare and limit the power of the pharmaceutical industry
- Invest in the teaching profession to allow the best education for students
- Supportive of the European Union, but rejects moves for greater federalism
- Legalise the cultivation of marijuana to provide greater tax revenue and save hundreds of millions in unnecessary use of the police’s and the judiciary’s time
- Build retirement security, as well as holding onto the collective system, including making sure self-employed people earn a good pension
- Ensure extra money goes to children who need it and work together with local authorities, schools, clinics and social organisations
- Link benefits and the state pension to the average age to tackle poverty at old age
- Clamp down on private collection agencies that charge exorbitant rates
- Refugees coming to the Netherlands must learn the language as soon as possible to integrate themselves into Dutch society
- Fair asylum procedure that cares for vulnerable people, especially children
WHAT DO THE POLLS SAY?
The seat projections show that the PvdA is set for a huge fall in support in the elections. After achieving 38 seats in the last election, the most recent poll suggests the party will be lucky to keep 10. It appears that the party has haemorrhaged support over the last few years during their time in government with the VVD.