Learn more about Jan Marijnissen
|Born||October 8, 1952
Marijnissen is chairman and leader in the parliament for the SP. Marijnissen is said to appeal to the 'common man', because of his use of simple language. His appeal is also explained by some observers by his capacity of presenting himself as a valid, more social alternative for the PvdA, which went under the leadership of prime minister Wim Kok and his so-called Purple Cabinets (1994-2002) into a centrist, third way direction by advocating welfare reforms.
Critics of Marijnissen call his leadership style authoritarian, because he is presumed to have a tight grip on his party. They also disparage his stubborn, traditional leftist defence of the Dutch social security system despite pressures of globalisation. Some critics call Marijnissen a left-wing populist.
Marijnissen was born on 8 October 1952 in Oss. After leaving school shortly before the exams, he worked in a number of factories in and around Oss. He then trained as a welder, working for ten years in the metal industry. Meanwhile he helped founding the SP in Oss and, in 1975, became the Netherlands' youngest councillor ever. He remained a councillor until 1993, playing a leading role in many campaigns, such as against polluting discharges. The SP's council representation in Oss has grown at every local election and is, as of 2005, the biggest stronghold of the Socialist Party in the Netherlands. Nicknamed "The Wizard of Oss", after his hometown, he became famous when he turned out to be one of the main architects of the Dutch vote that rejected the European Constitution in June 2005.
In 1987 Marijnissen became the party's first ever provincial assembly member, in North Brabant. A year later he became the SP's national president. Under his leadership the party has been transformed from "a federation of local branches" into a party with a clear national programme, nationally-organised activities and a national profile.
Since 1994, when the SP made the breakthrough which brought it into the national parliament, Marijnissen has been chairman of the party's parliamentary group. After gaining 2 out of the 150 parliamentary seats during this first breakthrough, support for him and his party has risen slowly but continuously. After 4 years of being in parliament, his Socialist Party went under his lead from 2 to 5 seats during the national elections of 1998, which was followed by a growth towards 9 seats in 2002. In 2003, after the 87 days term of Balkenende I, the Socialist Party didn't manage to gain more seats than the year before and stayed at the same level with again 9 out of 150 seats. Although there was a slight rise in number of people who voted for the SP compared to a year before, a few weeks before the elections the polls suggested the SP might double.
In 2004 there was a conflict in the SP between Jan Marijnissen and Ali Lazrak. Ali Lazrak didn't want to donate a part of his wage to the party anymore and he accused Marijnissen of dictatorial behavior.
In February 2006 the party was polled on 9.5% of the electorate in the municipal elections. After the untimely end of Balkenende II and the minority government of Balkenende III, the SP won 16 more seats in the 2006 elections to a total of 25, becoming the third party of the Netherlands. Soon after, the party membership passed 50,000. <ref>Jan Marijnissen verwelkomt 50.000ste SP-lid met taart en bloemen. Downloaded 29 november 2005</ref>
Jan Marijnissen is married and has one daughter.
Marijnissen has written a number of books:
- Samenleven kan je niet alleen (You can't live together alone, 1993),
- Tegenstemmen, een rood antwoord op Paars (Voting against, a red answer to Purple, 1996) and
- Effe Dimmen! Een rebel in Den Haag. (1998). This book is also available in English under the title Enough! A socialist bites back .
- Schrale Rijkdom (Poor Richness, 2002).
- Nieuw Optimisme (New Optimism, 2003)