Fake news is a deep concern for the new Netherlands cabinet, and its suppression is a priority in the Dutch cabinet, a new letter sent to parliamentarians shows. Russia deserves much of the blame for a disinformation campaign in the Netherlands, Interior Minister Kajsa Ollongrenhas clearly states in a brief to the Tweede Kamer, the lower house of Dutch parliament.
Geert Wilders has a strong chance of coming out on top following elections, Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte said in Rotterdam on Monday. Rutte repeated comments he made during a televised interview last week, when he told of going asleep on June 23 thinking Brexit would be voted down, only to find out otherwise the next morning. He had a similar opinion of the November 8 election in the United States.
PvdA Finance Minister Jeroen Dijsselbloem thinks that PVV leader Geert Wilders and his discriminatory statements poison the atmosphere in Dutch society, he said to broadcaster BNR on Thursday.
Dijsselbloem was responding to German President Jaochim Gauck expressing his concerns about the Netherlands in the Telegraaf. Gauck said that nationalism can now be seen in most of the founding countries of the European Union. He called the movement a "poison" and "infection".
D66 leader Alexander Pechtold called a statement made by Limburg D66 State member Hans van Wageningen about PVV leader Geert Wilders "unwise". In an opinion piece posted on Twitter and in 1Limburg, Van Wageningen said that Wilders hopes for a terrorist attack in the Netherlands. "He hopes for an attack just before the election and that he'll be sitting plush in The Hague when the smoke clears", he said.
An elite team of soldiers was deployed to help protect PVV leader Geert Wilders, the Telegraaf reported on Wednesday based on its own sources. According to the newspaper, members of the Defense team Special Security Missions Brigade (BSB) have been guarding the PVV leader for a few days already.
The Ministry of Security and Justice would not confirm these reports to the newspaper. The Koninklijke Marechaussee, a policing force that forms part of the Dutch military, would also not comment on the matter. The BSB falls under the Koninklijke Marechaussee.
Prime Minister and VVD leader Mark Rutte is very positive about the upcoming parliamentary elections. He thinks that his VVD will come out of the elections with the same number of parliamentary seats as in the 2012 elections - 41 seats. He is also up for working with green party GroenLinks. "We eventually have to work towards a greener society", he said, according to newspaper AD.
Rutte is currently campaigning in the east of the country. He participated in a debate series organized by newspaper Tubantia and the University of Twente. And he gave an interview to the Gelderlander.
GroenLinks leader Jesse Klaver wants the next cabinet to consist of an equal number men and women, he said at a meeting in Leiden on Monday. He feels it is time for the glass ceiling to be broken, AD reports.
According to Klaver, making sure that half of the new cabinet is women will not only do justice to women's talent, but also send "a signal to society that we do not accept exclusion and deprivation. Therefore, half of the ministers on the next government should be women", he said, according to the newspaper.
GroenLinks leader Jesse Klaver and SP leader Emile Roemer could not agree on whether the VVD should or should not be excluded from forming a new government after the parliamentary elections on March 15th. During the first televised debate for the upcoming elections, Roemer called on Klaver to clearly state whether GroenLinks and the VVD would form a coalition. Klaver said he can not rule out that possibility, AD reports.
Around 11:00 p.m. on Thursday the Tweede Kamer, the lower house of Dutch parliament, finished its last debate before the parliamentary election on March 15th. For many parliamentarians who are not on their party's new list of candidates, this was their last time speaking in the Kamer. The next debate will be held with new parliamentarians, the Telegraaf reports.
Dutch norms and values and immigration and asylum are the biggest concerns among Dutch voters at the moment, according to a study done by research agency Ipsos on behalf of Dutch broadcaster NOS. Ipsos surveyed a total of 1,103 Dutch voters that form a good representation of the Dutch population, NOS reports.
Faris K., the police officer in the Safety and Security Service suspected of leaking information to a criminal gang, was previously also suspected of integrity violations, newspaper AD reports. Faris K. was investigated for leaking police information while he worked at the Utrecht police, colleagues of the suspected cop told the newspaper. The outcome of that investigation is unclear.
Nearly a quarter (24 percent) of the 12.9 million Dutch who are eligible to vote in the upcoming parliamentary elections are 65 years old or older, according to figures Statistics Netherlands released on Thursday.
During the previous parliamentary elections 22 percent of voters were over the age of 65. According to the statistics office, the increase can be attributed to the post-war baby boom, that lasted until 1955. In the 2012 elections only the baby boomers born in 1946 and 1947 were 65 years or older. In this election everyone born up until 1952 is 65 years and older.
DENK leader Tunahan Kuzu accused Dutch doctors of discriminating against people with a non-Western background. In a live stream on Facebook Kuzu said on Wednesday that the Dutch healthcare system is quicker to pull the plug on elderly immigrants, AD reports.
According to Kuzu, he heard this from a number of medical specialists. "These doctors have seen that the plug is pulled more quickly in older people with an immigrant background than in people without this background", the Dutch-Turkish politician said.
Geert Wilders and his PVV is continuing to steadily lose support in the polls. In the Peilingwijzer published on Wednesday the PVV and the VVD are about equally large The PVV stands between 24 and 28 parliamentary seats, the VVD between 23 and 27.
Last week the PVV stood at between 25 and 29 seats. Since December the party lost six seats in the polls. The VVD has been on basically the same position for weeks.
Even though Dutch people like to grumble when things do not go their way, the population is generally pretty satisfied about the country, according to a study I&O Research did on behalf of newspaper AD. The survey among more than 6 thousand Dutch found that while there are concerns about contradictions in society, most are positive about the Netherlands' future, AD reports.
While it is annoying for the media and the political and social debate, politicians like Geert Wilders have every right to withdraw from debates or refuse to be interviewed, Marcel Gelauff, chairman of the Dutch society of Chief Editors, said to the Telegraaf. This follows PVV leader Geert Wilders withdrawing from two election debates and refusing to meet with editors to discuss how he and journalists can get along.
The Amsterdam PvdA and the National Youth Council believe that there should be polling stations at more vocational high schools for the parliamentary elections on March 15th. As the plans stand so far, there will only be polling stations at ROC Amsterdam and ROC Top. Universities and academic high schools are somewhat better represented when it comes to polling stations in Amsterdam, AD reports.
If it is up to PvdA leader Lodewijk Asscher, the Netherlands' new government will be a left-wing one. Asscher's first choice of government would be a coalition between the PvdA CDA, GroenLinks and SP, he said on television program WNL Op Zondag.
PVV leader Geert Wilders withdrew from another election debate arranged by broadcaster RTL after RTL Nieuws had an interview with Wilders' brother Paul. Last week Wilders already withdrew from the Premier debate on February 26th, now he will also not be taking part in the Carré debate on March 5th. According to him, he is withdrawing because RTL "got his family involved with the campaign", he said on Twitter.
"What unbelievably vile scum RTL is to involve my family in the campaign. Disgusting", Wilders said on Twitter.
Voters will have quite a selection to choose from in the parliamentary elections next month when it comes to picking a political party based on the financial and economic choices, according to calculations by Dutch central planning office CPB. A major difference between this and last election is that the parties are focused on spending money now that the economy is recovering, instead of the 2012 election's focus on cutbacks in the aftermath of the financial crisis, NU.nl reports.
The VVD wants more stringent integration requirements in the Netherlands including a total ban on face covering clothing, like burkas and balaclavas, in public. Wearing face covering clothing makes it more difficult for you to openly meet and greet each other, VVD parliamentarian Malik Azmani emphasizes in a broad integration agenda the ruling party is presenting on Thursday, Het Parool reports.
Broadcaster RTL decided to go through with the "Premier debate" later this month despite the VVD and PVV refusing their invitations. RTL initially decided to cancel the election debate after Geert Wilders and Mark Rutte said they wouldn't participate. But a massive outcry from viewers and other political parties made them change their mind.
A total of 12.9 million Dutch can vote in the parliamentary elections on March 15th, according to figures Statistics Netherlands released on Wednesday. That's 300 thousand more than in the previous parliamentary elections in 2012.
Basically everyone with Dutch nationality aged 18 years and older is allowed to vote in the parliamentary elections. In 2016 only 56 persons were denied the ability to vote due to the severity of a crime they committed, according to the statistics office.
In an interview with WNL over the weekend PVV leader Geert Wilders claimed that "we are losing the Netherlands". As examples he said that "schools often only serve halal food. Our holidays, Christmas and Easter, we're not allowed to celebrate anymore, according to some people". A group of Journalism students in Leiden decided to fact check these two statements and concluded that they are nonsense, RTL Nieuws reports.