Well before doors open, dozens are queueing outside the Gebr de Nobel concert hall on a cold Monday evening in the Dutch university town of Leiden. The act they have come to see? Jesse Klaver, the leader of GroenLinks (GreenLeft), the leftwing party surging in Dutch polls. Sunita, a children’s therapist from The Hague, first bumped into Mr Klaver in an Apple store. “I said: ‘You are the only one with a vision.’” It was the first time she had spoken to a politician. The 30-year-old Mr Klaver could register a breakout election success next week. GreenLeft is forecast to win up to 20 seats in the vote — a fivefold increase from its previous effort. If it does so it would probably overtake the Dutch Labour party, traditionally the country’s largest left-of-centre political force.
Left and centre-left parties are also struggling in France, Britain and Italy, while identity issues have swamped the Dutch election, with Geert Wilders’ anti-Islam Party for Freedom still ahead in some polls. But GreenLeft is gaining ground via pro-EU policies and an old-fashioned leftwing platform. If poll numbers hold up, the party that started life in 1989 as a ragbag alliance of socialists, evangelicals, radicals and communists could end up in the Dutch government.
The left “went wrong” with 1990s “third way” politics that blurred the differences between left and right, Mr Klaver tells the Financial Times backstage in a room containing an oversized bottle of Jack Daniel’s and a fridge disguised as a Marshall guitar amp. “The parties looked the same.”
Full Article: Greens aim for breakthrough in Dutch election surge.