Thirteen party leaders clashed on Tuesday night in the final election debate on NOS, the last chance for the party leaders to sway voters before the election. Topics ranged from income inequality to Dutch identity. And after an entire election campaign of being calm and being nice, PvdA leader Lodewijk Asscher went on the attack, NU.nl reports.
The diplomatic crisis between the Netherlands and Turkey had no immediate impact on the political polls one day before the Dutch parliamentary election. The latest Peilingwijzer does show an increase in support for the two leading parties in the polls, the VVD and PVV, but the increase was very minor.
On Saturday party leaders Alexander Pechtold (D66), Sybrand Buma (CDA), Lodewijk Asscher (PvdA), Mark Rutte (VVD), Geert Wilders (PVV) and Emile Roemer (SP) debated policy, explained what topics they find important and played games on kids TV show NOS Jeugdjournaal.
The debate was done by means of a quartet. Each party leader could chose a theme and a topic, such as "healthcare" and "costs". And then they could briefly and simply explain what they find important on that topic.
A quarter of Dutch believe that if a woman dresses sexy, she should not complain when she hears sexual comments, according to a survey by research firm Ipsos on behalf of Rutgers, a knowledge center on sexuality. And 13 percent believe that girls who wear short skirts should not complain when they are harassed, AD reports.
Lower house of parliament president Khadija Arib refused to cooperate in the wish of two of King Willem-Alexander's influential advisors to give the King more influence in the formation of the new cabinet, the Volkskrant reports.
Up until 2012 the ruling Dutch monarch played an active role in the formation of a new cabinet. The King or Queen could, for example, assign a "scout" to examine coalition possibilities and appoint informers. After a majority in the Tweede Kamer, the lower house of Dutch parliament, changed the rules in 2012, the Kamer itself performs these tasks.
With just a week before the parliamentary election, anti-Islam, populist party PVV continues to lose support in the polls. The PVV dropped to between 21 and 25 seats on Peilingwijzer, putting the party clearly behind the VVD, which is at between 24 and 28 seats.
Over the past weeks the VVD has remained relatively stable on the polls, climbing one seat compared to last week. Put the PVV has steadily been losing support on Peilingwijzer, which combines the data of six different poll for a more rounded view.
PvdA leader and Deputy Prime Minister Lodewijk Asscher is critical of the way in which VVD leader Mark Rutte led the Netherlands as Prime Minister over the past years. Rutte was not a Prime Minister for all Dutch, he said in an interview with NU.nl.
Left- and right wing parties clashed fiercely over the retirement age, healthcare deductibles and the Dutch identity in the televised debate between eight party leaders in the Carré in Amsterdam on Sunday. With only 9 days to go until the parliamentary election, party leaders are pressured to create some movement in the polls, which have been quiet over the past weeks.
The Swedish government reintroduced military conscription, which was abolished in the country in 2010. The Swedish decision again drew attention to the discussion of a Dutch military draft, Metro Nieuws reports.
According to the newspaper, Sweden and the Netherlands can't really be compared. Firstly, Sweden is not a member of NATO, and is therefore completely responsible for its own defense. Now that Russia is emphatically aimed at the Baltic region, Sweden decided it is time to strengthen the army, and there are too few voluntary recruits.
"You can't say that integration failed", Jeroen Dijsselbloem, current Finance Minister and number three on the PvdA candidate list, said on radio program Dit is de Dag on Thursday.
According to Dijsselbloem, "a lot of things went well" when it comes to integration. "Go look in the lecture halls in big cities. They are now filled with children from an immigration background", he said.
He agrees that the naturalization process could go smoother. He thinks it should be more mandatory and that all the responsibility can not be left to the immigrants.
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".
While it does not seem that the first televised election debate on RTL on Sunday had much affect on the polls, Maurice de Hond's latest poll does show left-leaning parties CDA and PvdA each gaining slightly more support and going up one seat. Right-wing PVV's support continues to dwindle slowly. Elderly party 50Plus took quite a blow this past week, losing almost half of its support.
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.
PvdA leader and current Deputy Prime Minister Lodewijk Asscher criticized the Amsterdam city management in an interview with AT5. According to him, the Dutch capital is turning into "a theme park for people with a big wallet".
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.
The Amsterdam city council adopted a proposal made by the D66, PvdA and GroenLinks to limit the certificate of good behavior rule at some jobs in the city, including jobs at the Amsterdam municipality itself. This means that young people with a criminal record now have a better chance at finding work in the Dutch capital, Het Parool reports.
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 lower house of Dutch parliament is discussing a PVV legislative proposal today that wants to ensure that Zwarte Piet keeps his blackface makeup. According to initiator Martin Bosma, "for years there's been a war against Zwarte Piet" and that has to stop, the Telegraaf reports.
PvdA parliamentarian Ahmed Marcouch wants to make sexual harassment on the street a punishable offense. If he has his way, anyone who cat calls, whistles, chases or in anyway sexually harasses another person on the street, will spend up to three months in jail or pay a hefty fine, ANP 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.
Over this weekend union FNV received complaints from hundreds of employees and former employees of the 16 Primark branches in the Netherlands. The union launched an investigation into the working conditions at the clothing chain after workers in Groningen complained last week about intimidation, heavy workloads, ignored health complaints and being watched in staff areas, AD reports.
Both the PvdA and D66 promise to invest more money into education in their respective election campaigns. The PvdA set 5 billion euros aside for education and promises substantial salary increases for teachers and a lighter workload. The D66 assigned 4.5 billion euros to education and wants more teachers and smaller classes.
PvdA leader Lodewijk Asscher wants to invest an additional 100 million euros a year into helping people who have a hard time getting by, he said to the Leeuwarder Courant. He also wants to increase welfare benefits and child support.
The current Deputy Prime Minister praised the so-called Leeuwarden child package, which helps kids from less fortunate families join a sports club, take music lessons or go on a field trip. He wants to introduce a similar system nationwide.