Eurogroup chairman and departing Finance Minister Jeroen Dijsselbloem was one target of eight letter bombs intercepted and defused in Athens on Monday, his spokesperson confirmed to ANP on Tuesday. He made no further comment.
Several PvdA Ministers are calling for calm and unity following a crushing defeat in the parliamentary election on Wednesday. According to the labor leaders, a reckoning now fixes nothing, Het Parool reports.
After a night of celebrations or condolences following the parliamentary election on Wednesday, the Dutch political party leaders are gathering in parliament to discuss the election results and start the massive task of creating a new government. GroenLinks party leader Jesse Klaver thinks it will be "difficult" to for his party to form a coalition party with the VVD, the biggest party after the election, but he is willing to consider it, the Telegraaf reports.
Former PvdA parliamentarian Rob Oudkerk thinks the labor party should disband after what he calls a "historic defeat" in this election. The PvdA lost 29 parliamentary seats, compared to what the party had after the 2012 election, NOS reports.
"What a night it seems to be," Netherlands Prime Minister Mark Rutte said to begin his election victory speech Wednesday night. "For the third time in a row the VVD is the largest party in the national elections," he added.
"It is also a night wherein the Netherlands, after Brexit, after Trump, has said 'no" to populism," he said. He praised the massive voter turnout of over 81 percent, a stark contrast to the comparatively low turnout in the UK for the Brexit referendum and in the U.S. for the 2016 general election there.
An exit poll sampling voters in the 2017 Netherlands parliamentary election shows the conservative party of Prime Minister Mark Rutte taking 31 seats in the Lower House, down from its current 41 seats. The coalition partner of Rutte's VVD, the Labour party (PvdA), showed a bigger than expected drop, losing 29 of its 38 seats, the Ipsos exit poll showed.
Many of the political party leaders already cast their votes in the parliamentary election in the Netherlands this morning. D66 leader Alexander was the first party leader to do so. He voted in his hometown of Wageningen, NOS reports.
According to Pechtold, today is an exciting day. "There are four parties that can become the biggest and of those the D66 is the most progressive", he said to the broadcaster. He plans to hand out some more flyers during the day.
Thirteen party leaders clashed on Tuesday night in the final election debate on NOS, the last chance for the party leaders to sway voters before the election. Topics ranged from income inequality to Dutch identity. And after an entire election campaign of being calm and being nice, PvdA leader Lodewijk Asscher went on the attack, NU.nl reports.
In a new verbal attack, Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan holds the Netherlands responsible for the mass murder of thousands of Muslim men in Srebrenica in 1995. "We know the Dutch from the Srebrenica massacre", he said in a speech that was televised live in Turkey, according to the Volkskrant. "We know how rotten their character is due to their murder of 8 thousand Bosnians there."
On Saturday party leaders Alexander Pechtold (D66), Sybrand Buma (CDA), Lodewijk Asscher (PvdA), Mark Rutte (VVD), Geert Wilders (PVV) and Emile Roemer (SP) debated policy, explained what topics they find important and played games on kids TV show NOS Jeugdjournaal.
The debate was done by means of a quartet. Each party leader could chose a theme and a topic, such as "healthcare" and "costs". And then they could briefly and simply explain what they find important on that topic.
Deputy Prime Minister Lodewijk Asscher called on Turkey to retract its accusations of Nazism and fascism against the Netherlands. If the country does not do so, the relationship between the Netherlands and Turkey will remain difficult, Asscher said, according to RTL Nieuws.
Asscher added that the Dutch government will not take any measures against the Ankara government, even if they refuse to retract the statements. According to him, it is important that calm returns. But "a different form of communication must come from Turkey", he said.
PvdA leader and Deputy Prime Minister Lodewijk Asscher is critical of the way in which VVD leader Mark Rutte led the Netherlands as Prime Minister over the past years. Rutte was not a Prime Minister for all Dutch, he said in an interview with NU.nl.
Left- and right wing parties clashed fiercely over the retirement age, healthcare deductibles and the Dutch identity in the televised debate between eight party leaders in the Carré in Amsterdam on Sunday. With only 9 days to go until the parliamentary election, party leaders are pressured to create some movement in the polls, which have been quiet over the past weeks.
The Dutch government should reinstate regular meetings with consultative bodies for ethnic minority groups, according to a study by Van de Bunt advisers on behalf of Minister Lodewijk Asscher of Social Affairs. Abolishing these meetings led to the fast decline of the dense network of representative members of ethnic communities and means that the government is less sufficient in reacting to rising social tensions, the report concludes, according to the Volkskrant.
GroenLinks leader Jesse Klaver and SP leader Emile Roemer could not agree on whether the VVD should or should not be excluded from forming a new government after the parliamentary elections on March 15th. During the first televised debate for the upcoming elections, Roemer called on Klaver to clearly state whether GroenLinks and the VVD would form a coalition. Klaver said he can not rule out that possibility, AD reports.
PvdA leader and current Deputy Prime Minister Lodewijk Asscher criticized the Amsterdam city management in an interview with AT5. According to him, the Dutch capital is turning into "a theme park for people with a big wallet".
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.
The VVD wants more stringent integration requirements in the Netherlands including a total ban on face covering clothing, like burkas and balaclavas, in public. Wearing face covering clothing makes it more difficult for you to openly meet and greet each other, VVD parliamentarian Malik Azmani emphasizes in a broad integration agenda the ruling party is presenting on Thursday, Het Parool 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.
Over this weekend union FNV received complaints from hundreds of employees and former employees of the 16 Primark branches in the Netherlands. The union launched an investigation into the working conditions at the clothing chain after workers in Groningen complained last week about intimidation, heavy workloads, ignored health complaints and being watched in staff areas, AD reports.
Both the PvdA and D66 promise to invest more money into education in their respective election campaigns. The PvdA set 5 billion euros aside for education and promises substantial salary increases for teachers and a lighter workload. The D66 assigned 4.5 billion euros to education and wants more teachers and smaller classes.
PvdA leader Lodewijk Asscher wants to invest an additional 100 million euros a year into helping people who have a hard time getting by, he said to the Leeuwarder Courant. He also wants to increase welfare benefits and child support.
The current Deputy Prime Minister praised the so-called Leeuwarden child package, which helps kids from less fortunate families join a sports club, take music lessons or go on a field trip. He wants to introduce a similar system nationwide.
D66 leader Alexander Pechtold thinks that PVV leader Geert Wilders crossed a line by spreading a Photoshopped image of Pechtold protesting with what Wilders calls "Hamas terrorists".
Thousands of people gathered on the Malieveld in The Hague on Wednesday afternoon for a Holland against Hate demonstration against American president Donald Trump. The initiators want the protest to show that the Netherlands is against Trump's "xenophobic policy" of closing the United States borders to people from seven Muslim countries. They also hope to convince the Dutch government to send the same signal.