Dutch filibuster put to an end some 28 hours ahead of schedule

Tweede_kamer
The House where the last day of budget discussions took place.

A - a law that gives tax credit to homeowners whose mortgages are paid off - ended after around eight hours, instead of the 36 hours scheduled for the debate. The Tweede Kamer put an end to the filibuster after numerous failed attempts to get PVV parliamentarian Edgar Mulder to get to the point, AD reports.

A filibuster is a parliamentary stalling tactic commonly used in the United States. The PVV and 50Plus planned to use this tactic to prevent the government abolishing the Hillen law on their planned schedule - gradually over a period of 30 years starting in 2019. To achieve this timeline, the abolition must be approved by both the Tweede Kamer, the lower house of Dutch parliament, and the Eerste Kamer, the Dutch Senate, before the end of this year. The PVV and 50Plus wanted to draw this debate out as long as possible to prevent this, and requested 1,200 minutes and 900 minutes of speaking time respectively.

PVV parliamentarian Edgar Mulder only managed to fill just over two of the 20 hours of speaking time he demanded, according to AD. And they weren't easy hours at that. He was called to order time and again by replacement Kamer President Madeleine van Toorenburg. "I advise you not to pick a fight with me", she said to him when Mulder started reading out all kinds of received emails. Van Toorenburg, and later Vera Bergkamp who replaced her as Kamer President, repeatedly called on him to "get to the fiscal part" of his argument.

A large part of the parliamentarians turned against him when he started talking about Roman politician and orator Cicero. By 4:00 a.m. the Kamer had lost its patience. VVD parliamentarian Aukje de Vries proposed that speaking time be limited. All MPs present for the debate except for Mulder voted for. The PVV faction was not present for the vote.

50Plus parliamentarian Martin van Rooijen did better and managed to fill 4.5 hours of the 15 hours he requested. His contribution was "substantive and strong" according to his colleagues. He reminisced about the time he was a state secretary in the Den Uyl cabinet [1973-1977], read letters from angry citizens and discussed newspaper articles. He thinks the government is "pushing" the abolition through in what he calls a sloppy procedure. He received support from the PvdA, SP and GroenLinks on this point.

The debate ended around 4:40 a.m. On Wednesday at 8:00 p.m. the second round of the debate starts with State Secretary Menno Snel of Finance answering parliamentarians' questions. 

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