While some of the active GroenLinks members gathered together in Amsterdam to celebrate the end of the EP election campaign, a small group of enthusiastic Greens were still campaigning in Eindhoven.
Fortunately, the Sun seemed to be in a very positive mood too, which was good for the atmosphere. With three boxes filled with campaign materials we stood in front of the entrance of the, Virus Cultural Festival. Stefanie had made sure that there were approximately 1000 FYEG/DWARS leaflets, which we handed out while saying, “Hello, can I give you a leaflet for the European elections?” a sentence which becomes annoying after about 100 times.
However, the really good part is that we got loads of positive reactions.
About 75% of the people who were passing, actually took the leaflets and most of them seemed really positive about going to vote and about GroenLinks. The opinion polls 4 days before the elections said that only about 30% of the people with a right to vote would actually use that right in the Netherlands. There is even an organisation which had posters in public places saying that the right to vote should be abandoned. I had a short discussion with one man, who informed me that he wouldn’t use his voting right because he doesn’t believe in parliamentary democracy, but he added that he thought it was very good that we spent our weekend promoting our ideals. Another man did not take the leaflet either, and answered my question with “rrrzzzzkzzz”, which I took as a strange way of saying “no”. And an elderly man started a plea about the EU being corrupt, which “is very clear if you look at the Euro, bla bla bla…” (he was still angry about the inflation), but he seemed like the sort of very stubborn I-don’t-want-to-listen-to-any-of-your-arguments person, so I didn’t really pay attention to him.
An extraordinary number of people said they would vote Partij voor de Dieren, Party for Animals, which was a new Party in these elections and the last polls said that they would get one seat. They’d probably become part of the Green group because they would be looking for the ‘most animal-friendly’ group in the EP. Marianne Thieme, their leader said on television that they ‘will stand up for all weak people and things and especially for animals, because they don’t have a voice’.
In the end we handed out all our leaflets and some GroenLinks sunflower seeds too, but decided to leave after we had been there for more than 2 hours. Stefanie and one or two others returned there in the evening because many more people were expected after dinner but unfortunately I had to do some studying. All in all, I believe it was a very successful promotional action and hopefully some of the floating voters, people who don’t know which way to vote yet, will decide upon the Greens after reading the leaflets and seeing our enthusiasm.
P.S. we now know that GroenLinks won 2 seats (down from 4 in 1999); the Partij voor de Dieren failed to win any.