Dutch PM optimistic about upcoming election; Touts "green" credentials
Prime Minister and VVD leader Mark Rutte is very positive about the upcoming parliamentary elections. He thinks that his VVD will come out of the elections with the same number of parliamentary seats as in the 2012 elections - 41 seats. He is also up for working with green party GroenLinks. "We eventually have to work towards a greener society", he said, according to newspaper AD.
Rutte is currently campaigning in the east of the country. He participated in a debate series organized by newspaper Tubantia and the University of Twente. And he gave an interview to the Gelderlander.
The VVD leader predicted the outcome of the parliamentary elections on March 15th, based not on his wishes, but his expectations. He thinks that the VVD will come out as the biggest party in the Netherlands by far, with 41 seats. The CDA will come out second with 17 seats, followed by the PvdA with 16. The D66 and PVV, currently the biggest party on the polls and only barely ahead of the VVD, will tie in third place at 15 seats. GroenLinks will also get a good score at 14 seats, Rutte believes.
"I do not think the VVD will lose seats", Rutte said. When asked which parties are closest to his, he said: "That's CDA and D66. We will always first look at them. The answer to a possible cooperation with the PVV is still no."
On a question about cooperation with GroenLinks, Rutte answered: "We all know that we need to move towards a greener society. On that I agree with [GroenLinks leader Jesse] Klaver. But how you do that? On that he and I differ in opinion. GroenLinks wants a tax on driving in rush hour. Driving at those times will be unaffordable for many people, I do not want that."
In the Twente debate the Prime Minister also answered questions from people on Facebook. One of these questions regarded his open letter in which he instructed people to "act normal" and if they "don't like it, then leave". According to Rutte, the letter is addressed to people who "show loutish behavior". "Not at migrants as suggested. If you - and that could be anyone - do not feel at home here, you have a choice. If you really do not like it here, you can go away." he said.
Another question regarded the MH17 disaster. Rutte said that "everyone is still busy" with the plane crash. "The first goal, bringing the remains to the Netherlands, succeeded. Goal two is to determine the cause of the disaster. Now they're busy in a partnership of five countries to identify the perpetrators. I still have a lot of contact with the relatives. This is the most severe thing I've ever experienced and we will do everything possible to track down the perpetrators, but it takes time."
In the interview with the Gelderlander, Rutte also said that he does not intend to step down if the VVD is not the biggest party in the Netherlands after the elections. "I still have ambition enough and am very motivated to continue. The work is not done yet", Rutte said. "I will fight hard for the VVD to be the biggest party in the Netherlands again, but if that does not work, my ambition is great enough to continue in another role - as a member of parliament or whatever it may be."