Party leaders focused on recruiting undecided voters in second-to-last election debate
The leaders of the six largest parties in the polls clashed on asylum and the nitrogen crisis during the second-to-last debate before the parliamentary election tomorrow. The fact that the election is still anyone’s game - with four parties in the running to become the largest - was clearly visible in how the party leaders sought confrontation in the hope of recruiting undecided voters, RTL Nieuws reports.
D66 leader Rob Jetten opened fire during the debate on EenVandaag on Monday evening. The Netherlands isn’t facing an “asylum crisis” but a “VVD crisis,” he said. “Because you showed no leadership and made no choices.”
VVD leader Dilan Yeşilgöz defended the Cabinet’s decision to collapse on the topic rather than make “weak compromises.” She added that the D66, which formed part of the collapsed Rutte IV government, “denies every problem on asylum, ignores people’s concerns, and pretends it doesn’t exist.”
According to PVV leader Geert Wilders, “It is indeed a crisis because the VVD had implemented D66 policy.” Wilders also targeted the BBB voter in the debate, clearly choosing the farmers’ side when the debate turned to the climate.
Jetten called Frans Timmermans’ (GroenLinks-PvdA) appeal to make agreements on solving the nitrogen crisis “a bit laughable.” He pointed out that Timmermans said earlier this month that he would not stick to the 2030 deadline in the nitrogen crisis at all costs. According to the D66 leader, Timmermans showed “no backbone” when he “derided” the nitrogen deadline during the RTL election debate.
Timmermans fired back that Jetten was part of the Cabinet that failed to solve the nitrogen issue. He said that nature is “sick” and that, “right or left,” agreements must be made to heal it.
The last part of the debate was about social security. VVD leader Yesilgöz accused Timmermans of “plucking people bald” with the GroenLinks-PvdA plans to increase the inheritance tax and raise taxes on entrepreneurs.
“We are asking for a contribution from the richest Dutch,” Timmermans replied. “We will not cut back on healthcare. You will.”
Trust in elections declining
A recent study by Ipsos for NOS showed that Netherlands residents’ trust in the elections is declining. Before the 2021 parliamentary election, 68 percent of Netherlands residents trusted that the elections were safe and on the level. This year that dropped to 55 percent.
The researchers didn’t specifically look at the reason behind the decline, but NOS pointed out that politicians like FvD leader Thierry Baudet have questioned the elections in the intervening years. General trust in politics and the government also declined.