Dutch pro-immigrant party looks to expand in Germany

In 2016, two Dutch MPs of Turkish origin founded Denk, a party whose main goal is to fight racism and Islamophobia. The party has now declared its intention to participate in the 2024 German elections.

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Daria Sukharchuk NewsMavens, Central & Eastern Europe
Dutch pro-immigrant party looks to expand in Germany - NewsMavens
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Why this story matters:

Pro-immigrant parties are not a new phenomenon in European politics. Many traditional left-wing parties declare themselves pro-immigrant.

However, migrants seldom feel represented by these parties, mostly because the majority of MPs both in the Netherlands and Germany are white men. 

In the Netherlands, Denk has been successful in Turkish and Moroccan communities. This popularity can be explained by the toxic anti-migrant rhetoric that was ubiquitous in the Netherlands in 2016, which then caused centrist parties to drift to the right to retain voters, thus becoming less attractive to immigrants.

As of now, Denk is a leftist party. However, its German branch could differ, since many migrant communities in Germany have conservative views and support rightwing parties. Ultimately, a pro-migrant party in Germany would probably have to include both right- and left-wing policies on its agenda.

Since many immigrants in Germany don't have a citizenship, it will be challenging for Denk to get votes. But the party could very well get votes from foreign-born citizens who haven't voted so far because they felt excluded from the democratic process.

Details from the story:

  • Denk (meaning "think" in Dutch and "equality" in Turkish) won 3 seats in the Dutch parliament, and is expected to win seats in the local elections.
  • Its founders are looking to expand in Germany. They aim to compete in the election cycle after the next, in 2024.
  • In the Netherlands, Denk was accused of stealing votes from the Labour Party
  • Migrant communities traditionally have a low turnout in Dutch elections; in 2016, it increased from 37% to 47% -- thanks to Denk, some believe.
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