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.
Prime Minister Mark Rutte is completely against anonymous hiring practices in the fight against discrimination on the labor market. In an interview with online medium VICE on Thursday, Rutte called anonymous job applications "terrible".
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.
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 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.
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.
In its annual report Amnesty International is sounding the alarm about the rise of populism across the world and the implications it has for human rights. According to the human rights organization, the situation deteriorated significantly over 2016, and that can be attributed political forces rebelling against the established order. Also in the Netherlands populism is a rising problem, the organization said in a brief press conference about the report, NOS reports.
Prime Minister Mark Rutte got support from a majority in the lower house of Dutch parliament for amendments he wants to add to the association agreement between the European Union and Ukraine so that the Netherlands can ratify it. In the Tweede Kamer on Tuesday the VVD, PvdA, D66 and GroenLinks supported his solution, NOS reports.
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.
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.