Dutch broadcaster to continue with televised election debate without VVD and PVV

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.

"We found that many voters are looking for and need more information. They actively ask us for it", RTL Nieuws director Harm Tasselaar said. "Also from among the political parties there is a widely shared desire to cross swords and inform voters about their main views during prime time. We see it as our job to meet that need. "

The debate will continue with party leaders of te CDA, D66, GroenLinks, SP and PvdA. That is Sybrand Buma, Alexander Pechtold, Jesse Klaver, Emile Roemer and Lodewijk Asscher, respectively. Led by Frits Westers the party leaders will debate their views, leadership tactics and the future of the Netherlands. These parties were chosen based on the Peilingwijzer, a platform that brings the results of various political polls together. They are the five largest parties in the polls after the PVV and VVD. According to Tasselaar, all five party leaders already agreed to participate.

Wilders and Rutte announced early this week that they will not be participating in the Premier debate. According to them, RTL is breaking the previously made agreements for a four-party debate. The broadcaster wanted to invite the four largest parties in the polls, but the differences between the CDA, GroenLinks and D66 were so small that RTL felt compelled to invite all of them. So the debate would have five participants, instead of four. Those three parties are currently level on Peilingwijzer, all with between 15 and 17 seats.