On Tuesday the Tweede Kamer, the lower house of Dutch parliament, voted in a legislative proposal by the D66 that makes the cultivation and transportation of cannabis in hashish legal under strict conditions. Now it has to pass through the Eerste Kamer, the Dutch Senate, though it is uncertain whether the bill will make it.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The newest information on Peilingwijzer - a platform that brings the information of various polls together - has the PVV only barely larger than the VVD. Geert Wilders' PVV currently stands at between 25 and 29 seats, only two seats more that Mark Rutte's VVD - between 23 and 27 seats. Political scientist Tom Louwerse, creator of Peilingwijzer, told NOS that this is not due to the VVD gaining support, but rather the PVV losing ground.
The PVV lost 5 seats since December. "You can now see that decline to a greater or lesser extent at all polling agencies", Louwerse said to NOS.
Former VVD deputy Ton Hooijmaijers was sentenced to 2.5 years in prison for corruption, forgery and money laundering by the Supreme Court on Tuesday. The Supreme court thereby upholds a ruling made by the court of appeals in April 2015, NU.nl reports. Hooijmaijers himself filed the appeal to the Supreme Court. No further appeal is possible.
The Supreme Court did agree to give a 2 month shortage on the imposed sentence of 2.5 years because the court exceeded the reasonable time limit for submitting documents, according to the newspaper.
Before the receipt showing the amount involved in a deal made in 2001 between then Prosecutor Fred Teeven and drug criminal Cees H., an email was sent to at least four officials working closely with Prime Minister Mark Rutte that showed the correct amount involved in the deal, Nieuwsuur reporter Bas Haan revealed on Monday, the Volkskrant reports.
Almost half of Dutch political parties' campaigns for the parliamentary elections contain proposals that are diametrically opposed to the current constitution or rule of law, according to a study by a committee of professors. There were proposals that violate fundamental human rights, access to an independent court and legal security, among other things, ANP reports.
VVD leader Mark Rutte and PVV leader Geert Wilders both decided to withdraw from the "premier debate" scheduled to air on RTL on February 26th. Both blame the broadcaster for their withdrawal, saying that RTL broke the agreements by inviting five parties to the debate instead of four.
Dutch voters have little confidence in the country's current healthcare system, which was implemented 11 years ago. 57 percent of voters want the government to take back control of healthcare instead of insurers, according to a study Ipsos did for Dutch newspaper Trouw.
The Photoshopped image PVV leader Geert Wilders tweeted of D66 leader Alexander Pechtold is "totally tasteless", Prime Minister Mark Rutte (VVD) said on television program Jinek.
The Hague city council picked Pauline Krikke to be the city's new mayor, the council announced on Monday after hours of private deliberations. Krikke is taking over from Jozias van Aartsen, who is stepping down on March 1st, and will be The Hague's first female mayor.
Krikke was mayor of Arnhem between 2001 and 2013 and an alderman in Amsterdam between 1996 and 2001, Het Parool reports. She was also the director of the Scheepvaartmuseum and most recently a Senator for the VVD in the Eerste Kamer, the Dutch senate.
Prime Minister Mark Rutte (VVD) more clearly expressed his rejection of Donald Trump closing the American borders to people from seven Muslim countries. He did so during a parliamentary debate on the entry ban and at the insistence of several other parties.
According to D66 parliamentarian Kees Verhoeven, Donald Trump's decree to close the American borders to people from seven Muslim countries is "pure discrimination". In a parliamentary debate on the matter on Thursday he that the Dutch government makes a "strong noise against" this decree, a sentiment shared by a number of other parties. The Netherlands decided to suspend talks with American Border Patrol regarding the entry ban for the time being , AD reports.
The VVD and PVV, the two leading parties in all the polls, are threatening to boycott the 'premier debate' on RTL late this month. If the broadcaster invites more than four parties to the debate, the VVD and PVV will not participate, spokespersons from both parties said to AD.
Most of the political parties in the Netherlands do not secure their websites properly, which means that they are vulnerable to hackers, ethical hacker Sijmen Ruwhof said to NRC. "PvdA, PVV, VVD, CDA and D66 for example have not installed certain security updates on their party websites for over a year, which makes them more vulnerable to hackers", Ruwhof said to the newspaper.
With his "if you don't like it, leave" campaign Prime Minster Mark Rutte is deliberately turning Dutch people against each other in order to win the election, according to GroenLinks party leader Jesse Klaver. Rutte (VVD) published a full page letter in various Dutch newspapers calling on everyone to act "normal" and if they don't like it to leave the Netherlands.
Prime Minister Mark Rutte and Minister Bert Koenders of Foreign Affairs are against a ban on entry for asylum seekers and people from seven Muslim countries that United President Donald Trump implemented over the weekend. They reject and regret this ban, the two Dutch officials said in a joint statement on Sunday, ANP reports.
According to VVD Defense Minister Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert, the only winner in the giant affair surrounding a deal then prosecutor Fred Teeven made with suspected drug trafficker Cees H. in 2001, is the drug dealer. "It's sad", she said to NOS. "Three Ministers already stepped down. Someone must be laughing loudly in his sleeve, and that is the criminal in question."
Stef Blok will be Minister of Security and Justice until the elections on March 15th, the VVD confirmed on Friday morning Financieele Dagblad reports.
Almost all the leaders of political parties feel that Ard van der Steur's decision to resign after accusations of him withholding information from MPs was inevitable. Most Dutch newspapers also seem to respect his decision to step down, but point out that there are still unanswered questions and that the VVD's position is more fragile than ever.
Justice Minister Ard van der Steur resigned his position following a hearing in parliament Thursday where angry politicians accused him of withholding information from MPs. He is the fourth politician in this cabinet forced to resign over a deal the Justice Ministry made nearly 15 years ago when Fred Teeven, then in the prosecutor's office, approved returning millions more in seized cash to an alleged drug trafficker than was told to parliament years later.