Gov't formation pathfinders resign after accidentally showing notes
Kasja Ollongren (D66) and Annemarie Jorritsma (VVD) stepped down as the "pathfinders" for the formation of the next Dutch cabinet with immediate effect on Thursday. This follows a photo taken of Ollongren on Thursday morning, on which the notes she took while speaking with CDA leader Pieter Omtzigt were visible, NOS reports.
The two politicians informed Tweede Kamer president Khadija Arib that they can no longer do the job of pathfinder without prejudice. The job of "pathfinder" is to talk with the various parliamentary party leaders and map out possible coalition for the next cabinet.
Ollongren is quarantining at home at the moment, after her Covid-19 test results came back positive on Thursday morning. Before stepping down, Jorritsma informed all 17 party leaders who met with her and Ollongren this week that they will have to get tested for the coronavirus. A number of party leaders will quarantine at home as a precaution, ANP reports.
Jorritsma herself will also be tested in five days, unless she starts showing symptoms earlier. According to the coronavirus rules, the party leaders do not have to quarantine in the meantime. This is only necessary if they did not maintain social distancing during their contact with Ollongren. And according to Jorritsma, social distancing was maintained at all times during Monday and Tuesday's meetings with the party leaders.
VVD leader and current Prime Minister Mark Rutte tested negative on Wednesday, government information service RVD said on Thursday. He and the other cabinet members were advised to get tested because they had contact with State Secretary Mona Keijzer, who tested positive earlier this week, at the Council of Ministers on Friday. Ollongren's positive results came from this preventative test.
A number of party leaders decided to rather play it safe and quarantine at home while they wait to be tested. PvdA leader Lilianne Ploumen cancelled all her appointments for the coming days, her spokesperson said to ANP. Sylvana Simons of Bij1 did the same.