Party watch: SP wants end to health care cuts

Lilian Marijnissen during a radio debate. Photo: Dirk Hol ANP

The Netherlands goes to the polls on November 22 to elect a new government. The Socialist Party has never had a role in the coalition government and that is unlikely to change now, despite the protestations of party leader Lilian Marijnissen that she is ready to do so.

She told Nieuwsuur earlier in the campaign that she did want to be in power and that the party would work happily with the NSC, BBB, GroenLinks-PvdA, ChristenUnie and Partij voor de Dieren but not the VVD.

Campaign leader: Lilian Marijnissen
Seats in parliament: 9
The populist-left Socialistische Partij, with its logo of a tomato, broke into national politics in 1994 with the slogan ‘stem tegen, stem SP’ (Vote against, vote SP). Since then it has hovered around on the sidelines. The party is anti-EU and anti-globalisation, and pro the working man but that did not automatically mean it wanted to join the PvdA/GroenLinks leftist bloc.

They may be her preferred coalition partners but Marijnissen wanted to “keep her options open” she said at the time, pointing out that she sees eye to eye on the issue of protected jobs for the disabled with CDA and the regulation of labour migration with CU.

Lilian Marijnissen, the daughter of the party’s highly respected former leader Jan Marijnissen, has lost seats in every election since she took over in 2017, but she remains campaign chief. Website

Main points from the manifesto:

  • A national health care fund, without own-risk element, end to health care cuts
  • Temporary halt to labour migration, introduction of work permits
  • Establishment of a new ministry to deal with housing and living conditions
  • Rent cuts to make housing more affordable
  • Mortgage tax relief to be scrapped on properties costing more than €405,000
  • Income to rise so that top up benefits (housing, childcare, health) can be phased out
  • Permanent jobs to become the norm not freelancing and flexible contracts
  • Higher student grants, zero interest on loans
  • A review of the conditions for European cooperation, to be voted on in a referendum

Things aren’t looking great for the SP, which, according to latest poll of polls will have to relinquish at least five of its seats. It is not clear why the SP, whose MP Renske Leijten played a prominent part in uncovering the child benefit scandal, continues to haemorrage support at every election although the rise of the BBB as a refuge for the least privileged may have something to do with it.

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