Election watch: And they’re off

There may still be 2.5 months to the general election, but there has been a flurry of political activity in recent days as the parties publish their slogans, manifestos and list of candidates.

According to the Telegraaf a panel of experts is at this moment deciding which slogan should be be squeezed onto the VVD election poster.

There is, the paper says, a shortlist of three:

  • ‘If we don’t watch it, the Netherlands will be the big loser after the elections’
  • ‘We like to win elections too but not at your expense’
  • ‘You are worried about your purse, your home, your job. So am I.’

It is nice to know that the prime minister too is worried about his income and his home, not to mention his job, which he may be without sooner rather than later if he thinks these slogans are going to work.

In 2010, the Telegraaf writes, the party launched the pithy and but equally feeble ‘Especially now’. Why slogans are getting longer this year we are not told.

The SP already has a slogan – ‘Participate’, while the D66 Liberals are going for the equally pointed ‘And now, progress’. Labour has opted for ‘The Netherlands, stronger and more social’ which seems to imply they are out for a good time at least.


In fact, Labour has actually become embroiled in quite a row over its list of election candidates – with several long-established MPs muttering about favouritism because they are too low down the list to get re-elected. Party leader Diederick Samsom has three advisors, Diederick, Diederick and Diederick, one said in the NRC.

MP Jeroen de Lange used Twitter to say: ‘I, and many others, find it incomprehensible that I have been put so low down on the list.’ Not exactly the most high-profile of MPs during the past few years, he has now dropped out of the race altogether.

Expat vote

D66 published their list of hopefuls on Friday, having managed to avoid the leaks and scandals which have beset the other major parties. Highest new entrant is the glamorous Vera Bergkamp, current chairman of the gay lobby group COC.

Eelco Keij, who championed the cause of Dutch dual nationals earlier this year, is 25th on the list. That might seem to be an unelectable position, but  Keij should be a cert for the expat vote at least. Now we just need a campaign to make sure all of us voteless Dutch taxpayers can have our say as well.

The Christian Democrats published their list of parliamentary hopefuls a few days ago – when it emerged not one of the current crop of 10 CDA ministers and junior ministers is prepared to lower themselves to becoming an MP.

Sinking ships

In fact, only eight of the top 20 on the candidates’ list is currently an MP at the moment. And number two on the is is Mona Keijzer, the Purmerend town councilor who challenged Sybrand Van Haersma Buma for the party leadership. Whether this is all a sign of rats leaving a sinking ship or a wish to remove most of those contaminated by the alliance with the PVV is not clear.

Talking of the PVV, there has been a deafening silence so far about the party’s election plans, its slogan and that all important list of prospective MPs. The current PVV crop includes several with criminal convictions, including drunk driving, forgery and harassing the neighbours.

But how many new faces has the PVV’s dear leader Geert Wilders found to risk their reputations by standing for the anti-immigration party? As yet, there have been no leaks on that score.

Election watch is a weekly column compiled by DutchNews.nl staff

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