SP leader calls for ‘social alliance’ as election campaign kicks off

19 August 2012

SP leader calls for ‘social alliance’ as election campaign kicks off

In a warm and welcoming Open Air Museum in Arnhem, SP leader Emile Roemer today kicked off the party’s campaign for the general election on September 12. Roemer called on the 2,500 SP members in attendance to work towards a social alliance between like-minded political parties, workers, employers and social organisations. ‘Everyone who can underwrite our goals of less poverty and narrower social differences, more caring for each other and more confidence in one another, I challenge to work hand in hand with us and then, after September 12th, to build on this.’

With the other SP election candidates behind him, Roemer addresses the 2,500 SP members present

Emile Roemer speaks to the media, including the international press, at the press conference

Roemer stressed the historic character of the coming elections. ‘And that is not only because we could record an historic result. These elections aren’t about who in our country will get a few votes more or a few less, a percentage point here or there. These elections are actually about who will have a say. For years politicians have turned their ears to the financial sector, watching as banks have been changed into gambling machines and managers and executives have hijacked education. The policy of the last few years has landed us in an unbelievable crisis. That wasn’t a natural phenomenon, but a direct consequence of political choices.’ Referring to the town where he was until recently a member of the elected executive, Roemer pledged ‘to do for the whole of the Netherlands what I did for Boxmeer – clear up the mess!’

Roemer releases hundreds of balloons to signal the official start of the SP’s campaign

The SP stretched out a hand to other parties of the left, the PvdA (Labour Party) and Green Left, with whom the party has a limited electoral arrangement. Known as a ‘lijstverbinding’ (electoral alliance), this enables surplus votes to be transferred between parties in the event that the surplus votes of each of the three add up to sufficient to give one of them – the one with the most surplus votes – an extra seat in Parliament. The arrangement is favoured because of the Netherlands’ strictly proportional system, and where a party would prefer to see one whose views are closer to its own taking a seat which might otherwise go, in this case for example, to the right. 'Let’s do what the voters are asking us to do and take each other by the hand,’ said Roemer. ‘Together we can make a fist of this and forge a social alliance. Political parties, employers, workers and social organisations together against poverty and for caring for each other and confidence in each other.’ With these words Emile Roemer hit a red button and released hundreds of balloons into the sky, thus signalling the official start of the election campaign.

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