Dutch PM lashes out at left-wing parties at campaign event
Dutch Prime Minister and VVD leader Mark Rutte again warned against voting for the left-wing opposition parties during a campaign kick-off event ahead of the Provincial Council elections in Dordrecht. Rutte compared political parties GroenLinks and PvdA to a “left cloud,” and said, "The smaller they get, the better it will be." Rutte added, "You will only suffer from them."
The campaign for the March 15 elections are "really about something," Rutte said. The result of the vote determines the electoral college for the Senate. "It's about whether the Netherlands is going left or right.” He vehemently opposed some of the positions held by GroenLinks and PvdA in the field of taxation and security.
For example, Rutte denounced the statement by GroenLinks leader Jesse Klaver that raising taxes "is an end in itself, regardless of what you are going to do with that money. So that is very serious." The VVD does not want taxes to go up, Rutte emphasized.
At the start of the election campaign, the VVD leader emphasized security, a traditionally theme of his party. He vehemently denounced how GroenLinks and PvdA voted against the recent bill to increase the maximum sentence for manslaughter from 15 to 25 years. The proposal did pass with a reluctant majority that did not include the two left-wing parties.
Rutte also did not have positive words about the position of the two left-wing parties when they recently blocked a bill to impose prison sentences on people who use violence against ambulance personnel, police and employees in healthcare and public transport. Rutte said he finds it "totally unacceptable" that, in his view, the left-wing parties "want to let the perpetrators get off with community service in the event of violence against these people. I think a prison sentence is an appropriate punishment. A vote for the VVD is a vote for a safer Netherlands.”
Rutte said these positions show how important it is that GroenLinks and the PvdA do not become too big in the Senate. Rutte’s fourth coalition Cabinet does not currently have majority support in the Senate, meaning he needs cooperation from other parties to push his Cabinet’s agenda.
Rutte firmly said he does not need the two left-wing parties for this, "because they get in the way. I've always managed to call senators and get majorities."
At the end of the election kick-off, in the busy pub with beer and bitterballen, Rutte said he could handle a "small left-wing cloud," then added that they should not become large enough to cause a downpour.
Reporting by ANP