Plant rights party to contest next Dutch election

Roses are seen at FloraHolland, the world's biggest flower auction, in Aalsmeer February 11, 2010. REUTERS/Toussaint Kluiters/United Photos

AMSTERDAM (Reuters Life!) - Freedom for ferns, rights for roses and tolerance for tulips may be on the agenda for a new political group that plans to contest June 9 parliamentary elections in the Netherlands.

The Party for the Plants made its public debut over the weekend with an interview on local radio. Among the founders is Pieter Baas, former director of the National Herbarium.

Baas told the radio program the party opposes the use of plants for biofuel, while campaign list leader Rolf Rose said the party wants communities to make free trees available and to tax the stone tiles many Dutch use to pave their back gardens.

“The PvdP focuses on topics such as climate, biodiversity and sustainability in general,” the party said in an introduction on its Facebook page. Its campaign website is scheduled to launch this coming Thursday.

Single- or limited-issue parties are not unusual in the Netherlands, where 61 parties have already registered to potentially contest the June election. In the last election only about a third of the parties that registered actually ended up contesting the vote.

Other registered parties include the Party for Nothing and the Pirate Party. The PNVD party seeking to lower the age of sexual consent to 12, recently folded rather than campaign.

Success for limited-issue parties is not out of the question, however. In 2006 the Dutch Party for the Animals won two places in parliament, making it the first animal-rights party in the world to win seats in a national election.

Reporting by Ben Berkowitz, editing by Paul Casciato