Dutch PM under fire for "don't like it, then leave" campaign

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.

According to Asscher, the VVD is flirting with the uncertainty about the Dutch identity. He believes that those who want to fight the causes of populism, first have to understand where that uncertainty comes from and find serious solutions for that. He also told the broadcaster that he'd rather work on a Klaver cabinet than another Rutte cabinet, though his first choice would be an Asscher cabinet.

GroenLinks leader Jesse Klaver is especially annoyed that Rutte linked misconduct and poor behavior to asylum seekers in his election ad, published in various Dutch newspapers on Monday. "That is what the PVV constantly does. One day Rutte rules them out and the next he takes on their rhetoric. With the election in view he sees little gain in keeping the country together, instead of stoking the fire. He is still Prime Minister of the Netherlands and I find it important that you say you stand for all Dutch, no matter what your background." Klaver said to BNR.

Klaver also wants to know what exactly is the "normal" Rutte is referring to. "Does he determine that?" I thin it's a beautiful country, but I do not find everything amazing in the Netherlands. I want to change things. Then you fight the status quo, which he considers normal. But the essence of a democracy is that you try to change things. The vulnerable is that you have very strong slogans and then are more moderate in policy, That feeds distrust in politics. Big words, little action, which reduces confidence in politics."

CDA leader Sybrand Buma finds it entirely unbelievable that suddenly, after four years of being Prime Minister, Rutte now realizes that there are many people in the Netherlands that don't adhere to Dutch norms and values. "It's a cll that has everything to do with elections and with a Prime Minister who always makes impossible promises, and then you never hear anything back afterwards", he said to BNR. Buma is convinced that no one will believe this call. "It may well be that he intends to appeal to voters, but many Dutch people have a real problem with he complete lack of decency and lack of attention for each other. And if he actually did ensure that people who behave wrongly leave the country, he would have had a point. But criminal refugees, asylum seekers and immigrants: they aren't being deported."