GroenLinks were the overall winners in the Groningen municipal elections last week, and must now form a coalition to govern.
In the municipal elections last week for the new combined municipality of Groningen, the left-ecological party GroenLinks (GreenLeft) were the overall winners. The party has become by far the largest in the new council, with 11 out of 45 seats. Despite being the largest party, however, GroenLinks lacks an absolute majority, and so must form a coalition with another two or three parties, so that they can govern effectively.
The question for GroenLinks is whether they would prefer to create a left-wing majority, or work with more centre-right parties such as the VVD. As demonstrated by GroenLinks’ results, voters in Groningen attach great importance to green issues, such as sustainability. Whilst the VVD is not left-wing, its party leader Joost van Keulen notes that it does pay large attention to sustainability, but only in combination with economic pragmatism (so reports the Groninger Internet Courant).
The Courant also reports that GroenLinks has approached Ineke van Gent, formerly a councillor within Groningen for the party and now the mayor of Schiermonnikoog, to sound out the possibilities for new coalition partners.
Van Gent will talk to all political parties, but GroenLinks list leader Glimina Chakor reiterated that ‘Groningen has opted for a left-wing, green and progressive course, against the national trend.’ Calling the gains for GroenLinks in Groningen historic, she added ‘the election results call for a clear, widely supported coalition agreement from a coalition that not only has the numbers to govern, but also has substantive coherence and strong cooperation’.
Chakor wants to focus on major issues such as climate change and energy transition in the new administration; in the coming weeks and months the composition of that administration will become clear.