Party leaders all promise a better Netherlands in children's debate
The leaders of the six biggest parties in the polls had an election debate for children in the NOS Jeugdjournaal on Sunday. There were some fun and games, but the content was leading. All six party leaders promised a better Netherlands for future generations, though they differed on how that was to be achieved.
"We have to make sure that we we leave it just that little bit better for you all," CDA leader Wopke Hoekstra said. PVV leader Geert Wilders said he wants the Netherlands to "remain a free country".
GroenLinks leader Jesse Klaver wants to make sure there are "many more wild animals in the Netherlands" by tackling climate change, calling it "the most important thing there is". SP leader Lilian Marijnissen also finds animals very important, adding "that the SP also thinks it is very important that everyone has an equal chance."
VVD leader and current prime minister Mark Rutte wants to focus on education. "We have to take care of your dear teachers," he said, but first tackle the coronavirus. "So that you can go to grandma and grandpa." D66 leader Sigrid Kaag wants to make the Netherlands a bit cleaner and fairer and is committed to education. "And the most important thing is that we are nice to each other."
The party leaders stressed that they often disagree. "But in the end we like each other," Klaver responded to a question from one of the children in the audience, a class from Beverwijk. Rutte recalled how Klaver came over for dinner not long ago, and Wilders shortly before that.
The party leaders also held short debates, in which Wilders was often the only person on his side. The PVV leader wants the Dutch flag to be hoisted at schools every morning, for example. The others not so much. "Very nice flag, but a waste of time, which can be better used for nice things," Marijnissen said.
Wilders was also on his own in wanting Islamic schools to close. Klaver commented: "Perhaps there are children watching who are attending an Islamic school. I want to say to them: Geert is the only one who thinks those schools should be closed."
D66 leader Kaag was asked how she deals with with hate on social media. "What I do is not look, not read. And I don't let it bother me. People who hate are actually very pathetic," she said.
The broadcast ended with something nice for the party leaders, who often have to deal with criticism and hatred. They each had a golden envelope under their seat, containing a compliment from the class in the studio.
Rutte was praised for being positive, Kaag for being a strong woman, Hoekstra for looking smart and enthusiastic, Marijnissen for being tough, Klaver for his cooking videos on TikTok and his curls, and Wilders for his ability to keep going.