Two largest parties threaten to boycott televised election debate

rutte and wilders
Mark Rutte and Geert Wilders (Picture: Wikimedia Commons/Russavia)Mark Rutte and Geert Wilders (Picture: Wikimedia Commons/Russavia)

The VVD and PVV, the two leading parties in all the polls, are threatening to boycott the 'premier debate' on RTL late this month. If the broadcaster invites more than four parties to the debate, the VVD and PVV will not participate, spokespersons from both parties said to AD.

According to the VVD, the agreements for the debate was already made with RTL six months ago. "Five or six parties is not in accordance with the agreements", the spokesperson said to the newspaper. Should more than the four parties leading in the polls participate, the VVD will not show up. The spokesperson also points out that a week after the 'premier debate', scheduled for February 26th, there will be a debate between eight party leaders. "We don't want the same debate twice."

A spokesperson for the PVV told the newspaper that they share the VVD's view. "Four or nothing. A debate with more we already have the next week."

RTL would prefer to debate with four participants as agreed. But last week the broadcaster announced that more would be invited if necessary - if the polls are too close. "The debate should reflect the democratic principles", deputy editor Peter Klein of RTL Nieuws said "We made a very reasonable proposal. We are still in discussion with the parties." The debate participants will be announced on February 13th.