If it is up to PvdA leader Lodewijk Asscher, the Netherlands' new government will be a left-wing one. Asscher's first choice of government would be a coalition between the PvdA CDA, GroenLinks and SP, he said on television program WNL Op Zondag.
Voters will have quite a selection to choose from in the parliamentary elections next month when it comes to picking a political party based on the financial and economic choices, according to calculations by Dutch central planning office CPB. A major difference between this and last election is that the parties are focused on spending money now that the economy is recovering, instead of the 2012 election's focus on cutbacks in the aftermath of the financial crisis, NU.nl reports.
Broadcaster RTL decided to go through with the "Premier debate" later this month despite the VVD and PVV refusing their invitations. RTL initially decided to cancel the election debate after Geert Wilders and Mark Rutte said they wouldn't participate. But a massive outcry from viewers and other political parties made them change their mind.
Almost half of Dutch political parties' campaigns for the parliamentary elections contain proposals that are diametrically opposed to the current constitution or rule of law, according to a study by a committee of professors. There were proposals that violate fundamental human rights, access to an independent court and legal security, among other things, ANP reports.
VVD leader Mark Rutte and PVV leader Geert Wilders both decided to withdraw from the "premier debate" scheduled to air on RTL on February 26th. Both blame the broadcaster for their withdrawal, saying that RTL broke the agreements by inviting five parties to the debate instead of four.
Dutch voters have little confidence in the country's current healthcare system, which was implemented 11 years ago. 57 percent of voters want the government to take back control of healthcare instead of insurers, according to a study Ipsos did for Dutch newspaper Trouw.
The municipality of Utrecht is investigating whether it would be possible to ban the use of cannabis in some neighborhoods. This follows the CDA prompting the Utrecht mayor for stricter action because of nuisance caused by cannabis smoking young people in the Tivoli gardens, DUIC reports.
Most of the political parties in the Netherlands do not secure their websites properly, which means that they are vulnerable to hackers, ethical hacker Sijmen Ruwhof said to NRC. "PvdA, PVV, VVD, CDA and D66 for example have not installed certain security updates on their party websites for over a year, which makes them more vulnerable to hackers", Ruwhof said to the newspaper.
A number of Dutch political parties and civil society organizations teamed up in a manifesto calling for more effort to be put into making sure that elderly people can grow old with dignity. A coordinating minister for elderly policy and encouraging family care are two of the priorities in the manifesto, ANP reports.
A Ukrainian salvage service is planning another mission to search for and recover both MH17 wreckage and victims' belongings, the chairman of a local village council said to BNR. Natalja Volosjina, in charge of the village council of Petropavlovka, believes it will be safe enough for another salvage mission after the winter, and she hopes that a team from the Netherlands will also take part.
Opposition parties and even coalition party PvdA have nothing but criticism for current Prime Minister and VVD leader Mark Rutte's "if you don't like it here, then get out" election campaign. PvdA leader and current Deputy Prime Minister Lodewijk Asscher called Rutte a poor substitute for a populist and accused him of sowing cynicism, while people who are dissatisfied should in fact work to improve the situation, NOS reports.
The construction of 162 window brothels on the Nieuwe Zandpad in Utrecht was delayed for the time being. An investigation into the investor revealed that "a serious dangerous" exists that crimes are being committed with the property that was to be built, Utrecht Mayor Jan van Zanen said on Thursday, ANP reports.
RTL Nieuws managed to break into the social media accounts of various politicians by using previously leaked passwords. With some of them, including the Twitter account of SGP leader Kees van der Staaij, the journalists left a message to show that they were there.
"This account has been leaked and is therefore vulnerable to hackers. Signed Daniel Verlaan and Siebe Sietsma of RTL Nieuws", a tweet read on Van der Staaij's account. The tweet has since been removed. They also broke into CDA Pieter Omtzigt's LinedIn account and various other unnamed politicians' Facebook accounts.
Minister Ronald Plasterk of Home Affairs is satisfied with security on the Dutch government's websites, he said in response to parliamentary questions. This is despite a recent study by the Open State Foundation that found that over half of the government sites don't use secure connections.
The Dutch prosecutor's office, OM, waited about four days to notify the cabinet that the man suspected of carrying out a terrorist attack in Berlin also spent time in the Netherlands after the incident. Dutch authorities ultimately notified Minister Ard van der Steur (Security and Justice) that the suspect, Anis Amri, traveled through the Netherlands, Van der Steur said in answer to parliamentary questions on Thursday.
Opposition parties were angered by the delay in notifying the cabinet minister, calling it an apparent lack of urgency among the Dutch authorities.
A total of 42 Dutch parliamentarians resigned since the previous election in 2012. That is the most of any cabinet since 1981, the Financieele Dagblad reports based on data from the Parliamentary Documentation Center of Leiden University. On average 35 parliamentarians resign during a typical four year term of government.
About 20 billion euros is still outstanding from the Tax Authorities, according to data newspaper AD obtained by appealing to the Freedom of Information Act. Some 4.6 billion euros of that owed money dates from 2011 or earlier. The Tax Authorities is uncertain about whether they will ever be able to collect some 6 billion euros of that money, AD reports.
A large number of parliamentarians are hesitating over extending the UN mission in Mali. They are concerned over a lack of air support to the Dutch troops there as there will be no access to fighting helicopters between March 1st and May 1st, the Volkskrant reports.
While the Netherlands often goes farther than neighboring countries in the field of counterterrorism measures, many anti-terror laws are still waiting to be implemented, according to Dutch parliamentarians. This needs to change as soon as possible, was the sentiment in the Tweede Kamer during a debate on the attack in Berlin on Monday, the Telegraaf reports.
The Tweede Kamer is the lower house of Dutch parliament.
A proposal by VNL to scrap the ban on group defamation, hate speech and discrimination from the Penal Code was rejected by a majority in Dutch parliament on Thursday. A large majority of the Tweede Kamer, the lower house of Dutch parliament, found the proposal not well thought out as it opens the door to discrimination directed at vulnerable groups such as Jews, Muslims, women, LGBT and disabled people, NU.nl reports.
The chairman of Turkish-Dutch mosque umbrella organization Diyanet collected names of people who sympathize with Turkish cleric Fethullah Gulen and passed it on to the regime of Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the chairman himself admitted in an interview with the Telegraaf.
Far-right party PVV gained two virtual seats in Maurice de Hond's weekly poll after party leader Geert Wilders was found guilty in the hate speech trial against him, but not punished by the court.
Christian party CDA's plan to close down The Hague's led right district on Doubletstraat seems to be getting closer to a reality. Foundation Non Nobis wants to move the prostitution zone, according to Den Haag FM.
"Non Nobis wants to put down a building where all sex workers - preferably also those on Geleenstraat - can offer their services in a transparent and secure environment", CDA leader in The Hage Daniell Koster said to the broadcaster.