Coalition accused of "fleeing" vote to raise healthcare salaries
A day-long parliamentary debate on the coronavirus on Wednesday had a tumultuous end after PVV leader Geert Wilders called for a roll-call vote on a proposal for a salary increase for healthcare workers. According to opposition parties, the coalition fled the chamber to avoid this vote, NOS and RTL Nieuws report.
For a roll-call vote in the Tweede Kamer, the lower house of Dutch parliament, at least 76 parliamentarians must be present - half plus one. The vote did not happen, because this so-called quorum did not exist after Wilders called for the vote.
Wilders spoke of "parliamentary sabotage". "The coalition ran away en masse, which is a shame," Wilders said.
"Colleagues running away so we don't have a quorum is downright undemocratic," GroenLinks leader Jesse Klaver said.
"Members of parliament fleeing the building in peacetime, I did not believe Wilders when he just said it," PvdA leader Lodewijk Asscher said. "Unheard of and disrespectful."
Coalition MPs deny running away to stop the vote. "Nonsense," D66 parliamentarian Paul van Meenen said. According to him, an agreement was made about roll-call votes during the coronavirus crisis. Due to hygiene measures, only 50 parliamentarians can be in a room at a time, which means that extra preparation is needed for a roll-call vote.
Wilders' motion will be voted on at another time.