OK, it’s now officially National Bash the Centre Parties Day. After Rutte’s attacks this morning it’s now the CU’s turn. In an interview CU party leader Rouvoet and parliamentary leader Slob mercilessly attacked Balkenende’s performance as prime minister. Meanwhile GL leader Halsema attacked both CDA and PvdA generically.
For the first time the two CU leaders talked openly about the fall of government. Initially they loyally remained at the CDA’s side when the PvdA walked out of government, but now it seems the CU wasn’t quite happy with prime minister Balkenende, either.
According to Rouvoet and Slob Balkenende was mostly preoccupied with the CDA party interest, and less with the coalition interest or the national interest. Slob said that he, Van Geel, and Hamer (the parliamentary leaders of CDA and PvdA, respectively) had visited the prime minister in February, before the government fell over Uruzgan, with the message that this conflict had to be solved. Balkenende agreed and told the three he’d get back to them, but never did.
Rouvoet more generically stated that arguments from the CU (or, one assumes, the PvdA) were rarely heard. Although Balkenende always said he’d keep an eye on them when taking decisions, he never actually did so.
(Source: Volkskrant | Vrij Nederland)
Harsh criticism, and the more unexpected because until now the CU has behaved as an exemplary coalition partner, even now that the PvdA has disappeared. But enough’s enough. The CU has proven beyond reasonable doubt that it’s a proper governmental party, and with the elections less than a month away it’s time to look after the party interest, especially when that party interest requires an attack on the largest competitor: the CDA.
The CU is doing quite well in the polls; a new one even has them at 10 seats, and it’s clear the Union is profiting from the slow slide the CDA is making.
Apparently protestants are reconsidering their loyalty to the eternal government party that calls itself christian, but that rarely stands for a truly christian-conservative policy. Exigencies of the coalition and all that; they always have to work with either the liberals or the social-democrats, and that gives the CDA a quite vague image in the popular mind. An image the CU now wants to milk for all that it’s worth.
I wonder how well the CU is doing among catholics. A massive catholic defection from CDA to CU, now that would be a true breakthrough.
GL party leader Halsema meanwhile made a generic attack on both CDA and PvdA for being vague in their programmes and coalition preferences. The usual. Not that it’s bad; this is in fact a good attack line for all other parties. But by now you should have grown used to it.
She also stated the two parties wanted to make the elections a prime-minister race. Memo to Halsema: meanwhile the race is between PvdA and VVD, and not the CDA.
Still, her main target is of course the PvdA, lots of whose voters will also consider GL. Therefore she demanded that the PvdA make a clear choice for a progressive coalition instead of its usual woolly non-sequiturs.
Not the most exciting news, but if enough party leaders keep up these attacks for the next few weeks they might actually make an impression with the voters. Meanwhile the fact that PvdA and CDA are vague has become a common opinion, and that cannot but help all other parties.
<— Rutte attacks CDA | TNS-NIPO really starts; changes to polls page —>
This is the political blog of Peter-Paul Koch, mobile platform strategist, consultant, and trainer, in Amsterdam. It’s a hobby blog where he follows Dutch politics for the benefit of those twelve foreigners that are interested in such matters, as well as his Dutch readers.