Vice-President of the European Commission, Frans Timmermans is on his way to be a major politician in the Netherlands. EPA-EFE/OLIVIER HOSLET


‘Green Pope’ Timmermans in pole position to lead Dutch elections alliance

Timmermans was nominated by an internal commission that saw him as the ideal candidate to "spread the common ‘green’ and social philosophy" of the cooperating parties. He stood unopposed.


Frans Timmermans is the only nominee to lead the alliance between the Labour (PvdA) and GreenLeft (GroenLinks) in November’s Dutch elections.

The so-called European “Green Pope” faced no opposition. The members of both parties can now vote on whether they agree that Timmermans will lead them. The results will be made public on August 22.

Timmermans was nominated by an internal commission that saw him as the ideal candidate to “spread the common ‘green’ and social philosophy” of the cooperating parties. Any leadership is bound to involve a balancing act, given the differences between both parties.

“He brings a wealth of experience and has earned his reputation in both domestic and foreign politics. This makes him eminently suitable as a figurehead of left-wing cooperation and credible as a prospective prime minister,” according to the PvdA.

Timmermans said he felt privileged to be nominated. “The floor is now up to the members,” he said. He added that he wants to restore trust in parties and in the government, “so that we are able to face the big challenges our country faces”.

“The climate crisis, growing inequality, a failing government, international security: they call for a bold approach that has broad popular support. And that starts with trust.”

The Netherlands is due to hold elections on November 22 following the collapse of Prime Minister Mark Rutte’s centre-right coalition government on July 10 amid a row over asylum policy.

If the parties endorse Timmermans as their primary candidate, he would be obligated to vacate his position as climate chief within the European Union.

A representative from the European Commission stated in July that Timmermans, who is also an EC vice president, wouldn’t need to resign immediately as his candidacy “remains speculative” until the Dutch parties officially designate him as their choice.

Timmermans has been active in the EC since 2014. Polling indicates that the potential progressive alliance could become a major player in Dutch national politics.