Faris K., the police officer in the Safety and Security Service suspected of leaking information to a criminal gang, was previously also suspected of integrity violations, newspaper AD reports. Faris K. was investigated for leaking police information while he worked at the Utrecht police, colleagues of the suspected cop told the newspaper. The outcome of that investigation is unclear.
The Dutch nationalist and anti-Islam political party PVV has suspended all election campaigning and public appearances in the midst of a corruption scandal. The scandal involves a member of the security details of both the PVV and the royal family who was arrested on Monday for leaking classified information to organized crime figures.
Police chief Erik Akerboom said at no point was anyone's safety compromised despite allegations that security officer Faris K. is accused of leaking information to a Dutch-Moroccan gang.
There is no reason to believe that an information leak discovered in the Safety and Security Service of the police put any of the people under the Service's protection in danger, Minister Stef Blok of Security and Justice wrote to parliament on Wednesday. The government is taking the matter "very seriously", Prime Minister Mark Rutte said, ANP reports.
Geert Wilders and his PVV is continuing to steadily lose support in the polls. In the Peilingwijzer published on Wednesday the PVV and the VVD are about equally large The PVV stands between 24 and 28 parliamentary seats, the VVD between 23 and 27.
Last week the PVV stood at between 25 and 29 seats. Since December the party lost six seats in the polls. The VVD has been on basically the same position for weeks.
In its annual report Amnesty International is sounding the alarm about the rise of populism across the world and the implications it has for human rights. According to the human rights organization, the situation deteriorated significantly over 2016, and that can be attributed political forces rebelling against the established order. Also in the Netherlands populism is a rising problem, the organization said in a brief press conference about the report, NOS reports.
Even though Dutch people like to grumble when things do not go their way, the population is generally pretty satisfied about the country, according to a study I&O Research did on behalf of newspaper AD. The survey among more than 6 thousand Dutch found that while there are concerns about contradictions in society, most are positive about the Netherlands' future, AD reports.
While it is annoying for the media and the political and social debate, politicians like Geert Wilders have every right to withdraw from debates or refuse to be interviewed, Marcel Gelauff, chairman of the Dutch society of Chief Editors, said to the Telegraaf. This follows PVV leader Geert Wilders withdrawing from two election debates and refusing to meet with editors to discuss how he and journalists can get along.
PVV leader Geert Wilders withdrew from another election debate arranged by broadcaster RTL after RTL Nieuws had an interview with Wilders' brother Paul. Last week Wilders already withdrew from the Premier debate on February 26th, now he will also not be taking part in the Carré debate on March 5th. According to him, he is withdrawing because RTL "got his family involved with the campaign", he said on Twitter.
"What unbelievably vile scum RTL is to involve my family in the campaign. Disgusting", Wilders said on Twitter.
The PVV's legislative proposal to make municipalities only participate in Sinterklaas events in which Zwarte Piet is wearing blackface makeup, could count on almost no support from both the lower house of Dutch parliament and the Dutch government today. Most parties in parliament were against the law and Minister Ronald Plasterk of Home Affairs stated that the bill goes against the Dutch constitution.
The lower house of Dutch parliament is discussing a PVV legislative proposal today that wants to ensure that Zwarte Piet keeps his blackface makeup. According to initiator Martin Bosma, "for years there's been a war against Zwarte Piet" and that has to stop, the Telegraaf reports.
The Dutch Public Prosecutor wants to prosecute jihadists before their return to the Netherlands, while they are still in Syria and Iraq, national coordinating prosecutor Ferry van Veghel said in Nieuwsuur. "Given the high risk of people who come back from this area, we do not want to wait until they come back before opening criminal investigations. We want it all to start now and continue in their absence", he said.
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.
In an interview with WNL over the weekend PVV leader Geert Wilders claimed that "we are losing the Netherlands". As examples he said that "schools often only serve halal food. Our holidays, Christmas and Easter, we're not allowed to celebrate anymore, according to some people". A group of Journalism students in Leiden decided to fact check these two statements and concluded that they are nonsense, RTL Nieuws reports.
The newest information on Peilingwijzer - a platform that brings the information of various polls together - has the PVV only barely larger than the VVD. Geert Wilders' PVV currently stands at between 25 and 29 seats, only two seats more that Mark Rutte's VVD - between 23 and 27 seats. Political scientist Tom Louwerse, creator of Peilingwijzer, told NOS that this is not due to the VVD gaining support, but rather the PVV losing ground.
The PVV lost 5 seats since December. "You can now see that decline to a greater or lesser extent at all polling agencies", Louwerse said to NOS.
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.
Geert Wilders and his PVV came out as the most popular party among the highly-educated and people with a mid-level education in a survey done by trade union De Unie. "The mantra that the PVV attracts the angry, low-educated white man is with this study definitely broken", Reinier Castelein, president of De Unie, said to WNL.
De Unie surveyed nearly 4 thousand people about their political affiliation. The PVV came out as the most popular party, followed by the VVD and D66. Though the vast majority of respondents did not know who they will vote for.
The Photoshopped image PVV leader Geert Wilders tweeted of D66 leader Alexander Pechtold is "totally tasteless", Prime Minister Mark Rutte (VVD) said on television program Jinek.
A data leak from Dutch voting guide Stemwijzer, the only one online as yet, revealed which parties are most often recommended to people. After answering 30 questions, most people got the PVV recommended to them, followed by the PvdA. GeenPeil and Forum voor Democratie are at the bottom of the list.
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".
PVV leader Geert Wilders tweeting a Photoshopped image of D66 leader Alexander Pechtold protesting with Hamas supporters on Monday morning, is leading to concern that the Dutch parliamentary elections in March will be dominated by "fake news" as the American elections were last year, NRC reports.
If the PVV wins the parliamentary elections in March and Geert Wilders becomes prime minister, Amsterdam should become a republic, D66 alderman Simone Kukenheim said on Saturday. Wilders responded to this call on Twitter with a Photoshopped image showing D66 leader Alexander Pechtold protesting with what Wilders calls "Hamas-terrorists".
Traditionally the Dutch labor party PvdA could count on most of the votes from minorities living in the Netherlands, but that no longer seems to be the matter of course, according to a unique survey by EtnoBarometer. Many voters with immigrant backgrounds will instead vote for new party DENK in this election. And the PVV is surprisingly popular among Dutch-Surinamese voters, being the second most popular party in this population group, AD reports.
The survey was done by market researcher Aziz El Kaddouri among 1792 ethnic minority voters.
A conversation on a train with two young PVV voters ended with GroenLinks candidate parliamentarian Lisa Westerveld being called a "GroenLinks whore" and "ugly bitch". The young men also threatened her by calling someone and arranging that she be met by guys at the Nijmegen station. "When they are done with you you'll vote PVV", they said, Westerveld told AD.