"Bye, bye Green Left": Greens under red hot fire

28th January 2011, Comments 0 comments


The Dutch mission is on its way to Afghanistan after MPs voted by a slim majority to send police trainers to the war-torn nation. But Green Left, which ultimately held the balance of power between endorsing or rejecting the mission, is under heavy fire from its own voters. Leader Jolande Sap has met with fierce criticism from party ranks.

After two days of furious debate and internal struggle, Ms Sap's fears about the mission having a civil rather than a military nation were assuaged and, following the Christian Union and liberal D66, she consented to back Prime Minister Mark Rutte's proposal. But polls show that some 80 percent of Green Left voters are against backing the mission. Reactions slamming the party's decision are pouring in on national and social media.

Earlier this morning, political activist and Afghanistan expert Sietse Bosgra announced on national radio he was leaving Green Left. Its leader is being dubbed "Jolande Slap" or "weak Jolande", playing on her name. "Bye, bye Green Left" writes another voter in response to an article on the Dutch mission in daily . "The love for America is going too far," says another. One reader claims that Ms Sap's move will send voters en masse into the honest arms of the PVV, Geert Wilders' anti-Islam party.

One Green Left MP, in defiance of the party's position, voted against the mission. Ineke van Gent said that after "long and difficult deliberation", she decided she couldn't ignore the wishes of the majority of her party members.

Only last month Jolande Sap stepped into the shoes of Femke Halsema, who decided to retire for personal reasons. No doubt when Green Left holds its annual conference next week, Ms Sap's position as party leader will be put under close scrutiny.


© Radio Netherlands Worldwide

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