Stringent measures taken to battle the spread of coronavirus Covid-19 are affecting all aspects of the Netherlands. Most court cases and parliamentary debates have been canceled. Community service has been suspended. And the Netherlands is no longer taking in asylum seekers. Freelancers suddenly unable to go to work are also facing problems.
The PvdA is threatening to withdraw its support from the pension agreement, which was finally reached in June last year after a decade of negotiations. According to the labor party, the coalition is not sticking to its promise to make money available so that people with physically taxing jobs can retire earlier, RTL Z reports.
The Eerste Kamer, the Dutch Senate, approved a legislative proposal by Minister Ferdinand Grapperhaus of Justice and Security to increase the maximum punishments for crimes that fall under organized crime. The new law, which will take effect on January 1st, also includes a harsher approach to revenge porn and a longer statute of limitation for child abuse.
Populist party FvD was surprised by the news that two of its Senators - Jeroen de Vries and Dorien Rookmaker - are leaving the party to form a new party with recently expelled FvD member Henk Otten. FvD leader Thierry Baudet and other high-ups in the party heard about it in the newspapers. "It is unfortunate that this is how it is and not fun of course, but I think the damage is not so bad for us", Baudet said in a first reaction to NRC.
Senator Henk Otten, who was expelled from populist party FvD three weeks ago, is starting his own party and he is taking two other FvD Senators with him. Otten was spotted having a "founding meeting" with Senators Jeroen de Vries and Dorien Rookmaker on a hotel terrace in Zwolle, De Telegraaf reports.
The victims of the Second World War in the former Dutch East Indies were commemorated in the building of the Tweede Kamer, the lower house of Dutch parliament, on Wednesday. The presidents of the Eerste Kamer and Tweede Kamer, Jan Anthonie Bruijn and Khadija Arib, placed a wreath at the memorial plaque in the building, NOS reports.
The commemoration consisted of a short ceremony, with speeches by Arib and others, and a minute of silence.
Populist party FvD expelled Senator Henk Otten from the party. The party suspects him of fraud based on an internal investigation into the party administration in 2018, the FvD said in a statement on its website on Wednesday. The Ministry of Home Affairs and Kingdom Relations has been informed of the alleged fraud, the party said. Otten is considering legal steps against the FvD, he said to NOS.
After several rounds of voting, senators in the Netherlands selected Professor Jan Anthonie Bruijn as the new chairperson of the Eerste Kamer, the upper house of Dutch parliament. The 61-year-old professor of immunopathology at Leiden University has been involved in politics as a VVD member since 1989 when he first became a local VVD board member in hometown of Wassenaar, Zuid-Holland.
Bruijn takes the reins from VVD politican Ankie Broekers-Knol. She was tapped as justice and security secretary last month.
Minister Kasja Ollongren of Home Affairs and Kingdom Relations plans to make changes to the ways the Netherlands elects members of both the Eerste Kamer and Tweede Kamer. She wants to introduce a new electoral system in which preference votes on candidates are given more weight, NRC and Volkskrant report based on sources around the government.
Toine Beukering, Senator for right-wing nationalist party FvD, apologized for describing Jewish people in the Holocaust as "docile lambs" during an interview with the Telegraaf on Saturday. "That was a very awkward comment. I also regret it and take it back", Beukering now said, the Telegraaf reports.
The government's plan to increase interest rates on student loans will almost certainly fail in the Eerste Kamer, the Dutch Senate. Former VVD Senator Anne-Wil Duthler is increasingly critical of the plan, and support from the D66 also seems to be crumbling, NOS reports. The student loan system is also causing friction within GroenLinks.
Prime Minister Mark Rutte delayed the publication of the planning offices' climate agreement calculations until after Budget Day, because he thought a debate about the climate would be "undesirable" at this point, Nieuwsuur reports based on documents it received by appealing to the Government Information Act. Opposition parties in parliament are outraged and want a quick explanation from Rutte about the pressure he exerted on the planning offices to delay this publication, NOS reports.
The political composition of the Eerste Kamer, the upper house of Dutch parliament, was made clear on Monday, with both the right wing VVD and far right nationalists FvD holding 12 seats. The ruling coalition parties, CDA, D66, ChristenUnie and Prime Minister Mark Rutte's VVD, kept 32 of their 38 seats.
There are 75 seats in the Eerste Kamer, making 38 the number to reach in order to claim a simple majority.
GroenLinks leader Jesse Klaver believes that the government will opt for cooperation with the left-wing opposition in the new Senate. "The cabinet must choose: is it about the right or about the left? I assume it will opt for the Paris climate goals. That means that cooperation on the right is not an option", Klaver said, ANP reports.
Voter turnout was up substantially in the country's provincial election on Wednesday, compared with turnout in 2015. Some 57.9 percent of eligible voters showed up at polling places, up from 47.8 percent four years earlier, according to RTL Nieuws.
The ruling coalition that forms the Cabinet in The Netherlands was projected to lose seven seats and its majority in the Eerste Kamer, the upper house of Dutch parliament. Eerste Kamer relative newcomer Forum voor Democratie (FvD), a nationalist right wing party, was projected to secure ten seats in the Dutch Senate, and left wing GroenLinks was expected to take eight seats. There are 75 seats in the chamber, with the coalition currently holding 38 for a razor thin majority.
The shooting in Utrecht on Monday that cost the lives of three people and left three other seriously injured is influencing the voting behavior of people in the Provincial States election today, according to a poll by Maurice de Hond. People voting for right-wing, anti-Islam parties FvD and PVV in particular are now more determined to cast their votes on Wednesday, De Hond found.
Almost a third of Dutch voters want to punish the Rutte III government for its policy during the Provincial States election on March 20th, according to the latest poll by research bureau I&O. A quarter of voters want to support the cabinet with his or her vote. And almost half said that they won't take into account whether or not the government coalition will get a majority in the Senate when they cast their vote, AD reports.
Facebook will not be able to guarantee that the company is transparent about the placement of political advertisements before the provincial states elections next month, Minister Kasja Ollongren of Home Affairs and Kingdom Relations wrote in a letter to parliament, NOS reports.
The Dutch government wants airlines to share information about their passengers with the government in future. This data is necessary in the fight against "terrorism and serious crime", Minister Ferdinand Grapperhaus of Justice and Security said in a letter to the Tweede Kamer, the lower house of Dutch parliament, AD reports.
GroenLinks leader Jesse Klaver is demanding that the coalition parties support his legislative proposal for a CO2 tax, in exchange for his party's support on new cabinet plans. "The question is not whether we will help the government to a majority, but whether the coalition will help our plans to a majority", he said at a meetup in The Hague on Monday evening, NOS reports.
Prime Minister Mark Rutte kicked off the VVD's campaign for the Provincial States elections with an open letter published in multiple newspapers. In the letter, addressed to "all the ordinary normal people", Rutte calls on the Dutch to protect the Netherlands. Remarkably, the VVD is not mentioned once, AD reports.
31 mayors of larger Dutch cities are calling on the Senate not to remove the appointment of mayors from the Dutch constitution, and to keep the procedure as is. Removing the appointment procedure from the constitution is the first step in enabling an elected mayor. The mayors are worried that this will result in them losing their connecting role as "father or mother for all residents, businesses and institutions", they wrote in an open letter to the Senate, the Volkskrant reports.
Prime Minister Mark Rutte will investigate whether the burial chamber under the Eerste Kamer in The Hague can be opened to search for the remains of former statesman Johan van Oldenbarnevelt, who was beheaded at the Binnenhof nearly 400 years ago. Rutte is responding to requests from Van Oldenbarnevelt's relatives and questions from SP parliamentarian Ronald van Raak, RTL Nieuws reports.