A majority of Dutch Green (GroenLinks) and Socialist Party (PvdA) coalition members want to get rid of the Dutch monarchy.
At its election congress on October 14, 52 per cent of around 5,000 members voted for a proposal for the Netherlands to become a republic.
The Left-wingers in favour of the proposal said the monarchy and accompanying principles such as hereditary succession were part of an “antiquated system of inequality”.
They also highlighted the extensive costs of the institution. The millions spent on it in taxpayers’ money would be better used for people who needed it, it was claimed.
Others pointed to historical issues as motivation for ditching the royals. They referred to recent controversy regarding the late Prince Bernhard, who was connected with the Nazi-party, and the role of the royals in the colonial history of the Netherlands.
Some even mentioned a photo of King Willem-Alexander taken during the 2014 Winter Olympics in Russia, in which he was pictured drinking a beer with President Vladimir Putin.
Opponents of the proposal, mainly from the Socialist Party, said the Dutch monarchy had a rich historic bond with the nation and had an important symbolic function. Some felt that other proposals, which give King Willem-Alexander a strictly ceremonial role and require him to begin paying taxes, went far enough.
Another thorny issue for the joint parties was the war in Israel. Members of the Frans Timmermans-led coalition demanded a more pro-Palestinian line and felt the party leadership was too supportive of Israel.
Kauthar Bouchallikht MP decided not to take part in the next Dutch elections because of this.
It led to Timmermans condemning violence leading to the death of children, calling for the respect for human rights and warning against punishment of the people of Gaza.
In an attempt to quell any dissatisfaction, a collective motion was brought forward. “A text that our Leftist friends in Israel and our Leftist friends in Palestine can get behind,” according to the Socialist representative Kati Piri.
The motion condemned the “gruesome attack” by Hamas and expressed solidarity with the victims and the bereaved. It also stated that the “collective punishment” of Gazans “violates international humanitarian law” and “must stop immediately”.
It was approved with 96 per cent of the vote.
The main focus of the Greens and Socialists congress was a new, national Green Deal designed to make villages, towns and cities “greener” and industry more sustainable.
In the approved election programme, the members voted for a minimum wage of €16 per hour, lower taxes for people who work but have a low or middle income, and a new ‘millionaire tax’.
The Left-wing members are hoping to be part of the next government and the coalition party is currently polling well.
Wat een dag. Wat een optimisme vandaag op het congres. Dat inspireert!
— Frans Timmermans (@F__Timmermans) October 14, 2023