Rutte lashes out at left wing parties in election campaign interview
In the run-up to the provincial council elections, Prime Minister Mark Rutte lashed out against the merger of the PvdA and GroenLinks, which will soon form a joint parliamentary group in the Senate. A possible victory by the Left Bloc "would be bad news for the hard-working Dutchman" because it would raise taxes, the VVD leader told the Telegraaf.
A poll by I&O Research last week showed that the PvdA/GL could become the largest faction in the Senate. The parties are neck-and-neck with the VVD, according to the poll. The new Provincial Councils will elect the Senate in May. The VVD is currently the largest party there, after the Forum for Democracy’s collapse.
"If they become the largest parties, they develop enormous self-confidence, and I think the VVD should stop that movement already," Rutte, whose fourth Cabinet lacks a majority in the Senate, said of the left-wing combination. "If the coalition gets a majority there or comes close to it, you can have a much calmer policy. We have tried to dispel this leftist cloud, but it will come back."
Already, the Cabinet relies heavily on the Labor Party (PvdA) and the Green Left to push proposals such as pension reform through the Senate. Rutte feared that a large PvdA/GL parliamentary group would make too many demands. Moreover, he said, it is already difficult to do business with parties to the right of the VVD.
Rutte was interviewed by the Dutch newspaper along with Edith Schippers. She is the VVD's list leader for the upper house elections. Her return to politics sparked speculation about her possible succession to Rutte as leader of the VVD. However, they did not want to comment on that. Rutte has not yet decided what he wants to do, and Schippers said the party is looking into it.
Reporting by ANP