Skip to main content

Bernd Riexinger

Lack of interest threatens democracy

Bernd Riexinger, DIE LINKE co-chair, on the occasion of parliamentary elections in the Netherlands

The opponents Geert Wilders and Mark Rutte exploited the conflict with Turkish despot Erdogan for their election campaigns. It's head-to-head in the polls for the market liberal VVD of Rutte, Christian Democratic CDA, and the far right PVV of Wilders. Rutte deals with it in the classical manner of German Christian Conservatives: by adopting right-wing populist phrases he wants to catch voters from the islamphobic Geert Wilders. Such maneuvers are shabby and not very promising - when in doubt voters usually turn to the original. It is alarming that about a third of young voters in the Netherlands is in favor of the racist and nationalist slogans of Geert Wilders. If the parties fail to reach the people and inspire them for politics this might have harmful consequences for democracy in Europe in the long run.

I am happy that our sister party SP is stable in the polls at around 15 percent. With their programme demanding council housing, investments in the public sector, and a new high income tax rate of 65 percent for yearly incomes above 150.000 euro the left party of the Netherlands is also a reliable partner for us in the fight against right-wing populism and neoliberalism.