Gov't to submit curfew emergency law to parliament today
The emergency law that must provide a stronger legal basis for the coronavirus curfew will likely be submitted to parliament on Wednesday already. King Willem-Alexander signed the new law on Tuesday evening after which it was immediately submitted to the Council of State, a spokesperson for the Ministry of Justice and Security said to NU.nl.
The Council of State, the government's highest advisor, will issue an urgent advice on the law, after which the bill can go directly to the Tweede Kamer, the lower house of Dutch parliament. It is then up to the parliamentarians, who are currently on recess, to determine when to debate and vote on the law. After that, the law must also pass through the Eerste Kamer, the Dutch Senate.
Minister Ferdinand Grapperhaus of Justice and Security announced on Tuesday that he was working on this emergency law, when the court in The Hague ruled that the curfew must be scrapped with immediate effect because its legal basis is insufficient. The pandemic was not an unanticipated emergency, like when a dyke breaks, and thus did not fulfill the requirements of the Extraordinary Powers of Civil Authority Act which the Cabinet cited in creating the curfew.
The cabinet immediately appealed against this ruling and announced the emergency law. The court was also asked to suspend the execution of the judge's ruling until a ruling was made on appeal. The court agreed to that and curfew will remain in effect until at least Friday, when the appeal case will appear. It is expected that the appeals court will also rule on Friday.
Prime Minister Mark Rutte was pleased that the court decided to keep the curfew in place for the time being. He stressed that the curfew is important with the more contagious B117 coronavirus strain increasingly gaining ground in the Netherlands. "The measure is important in order to eventually regain more freedoms," he said. He called on everyone to keep to the curfew.
Willem Engel, frontman of protest group Viruswaarheid that started this lawsuit, was bewildered and astonished by the court's decision to not implement its ruling immediately. And "maybe a little disappointed", he said to NOS. "Somehow I have the feeling that what happened here is very good. Because you are here in large numbers now. Everyone has seen that this is a charade."