(Sources: NRC | Volkskrant | Parool | Nederlands Dagblad | Trouw | Telegraaf)
  • CDA parliamentary leader Van Geel, who acts as stand-in for Balkenende during the local election campaign, said that the parties of the left had not learned anything from the 2002 election campaign and Pim Fortuyn.
    Van Geel criticises the fact that the left parties want to exclude Wilders, mainly because the points Wilders is making are reality for many Dutch.
    Anyway, combined with the previous item this constitutes a clear turn to the right on the part of the CDA. The CDA+VVD+PVV coalition has come one step closer — if it gets a majority.
    Still, the counter-move of the left is clear: “Vote CDA, and get Wilders for free.”
    (Sources: Telegraaf | Trouw | Van Geel’s column on the CDA site)
  • As to the VVD, it hasn’t yet been as clear as the CDA, but a VVD MP proposed that in order to get welfare payments, the recipient must know Dutch. (In other words, recent arrivals should be excluded). Now policy-wise this might not be such a bad idea, but the timing makes it very clear that the VVD, too, tries to draw to the right and re-conquer some PVV voters.
    (Source: Volkskrant)
  • Foreign minister Verhagen (CDA) once more stated that the PvdA was clearly aiming for the fall of government during the last hectic weeks. CDA voters will believe that, PvdA voters won’t. So Verhagen’s remarks are not very important.
    In fact, it seems that Verhagen’s star is setting fast. He is allowed to attack the PvdA on the fall of government, but isn’t entrusted with the current attack lines. More evidence that he has been damaged severely in the crisis.
    (Source: NRC)
  • These attacks by the right are partly caused by the remarks of the left in the election debate yesterday. Basically D66 leader Pechtold and SP leader Kant declared that Wilders is a danger for Dutch society and is looking for people to blame stuff on.
    These attacks were pretty predictable. Pechtold has conquered himself a position thanks to his attacks on Wilders, while Kant is worried that SP voters will defect to the PVV and wants to clearly state the difference betwen the parties.
    (Sources: NRC | Volkskrant )
  • Parliament has returned after a week of recess, and now has the tricky job of deciding which topics are “controversial” and may not be treated by the current government but have to wait until after the elections. The rule is that a “substantial minority” of parliament may declare a topic controversial. A committee meeting will look into all this in more detail.
    Still, it seems that the opposition parties won’t wait for the committee. PVV, VVD, and GL members already opened attacks on several points of government policy that were formulated before the crisis. The details don’t matter much; the take-away is that the opposition is pantingly eager to start attacking government.
    (Source: Trouw)
  • Speaking of policy, prime minister Balkenende declared he wants to continue raising the pension age; one of the hottest policy topics right now. Of course he needs a parliamentary majority for that, and everything depends on the PvdA. When it still was part of government the PvdA had agreed to the raise, but from an electoral point of view rejecting it would be better, because the left wing, especially, was not very happy with it. Still, that would mean the PvdA is twisting and turning on vital issues; exactly the thing Bos wants to avoid. He’s seen as principled now; let’s see how he handles this tricky issue without losing either his image or his voters.
    (Sources: Telegraaf | Trouw)
  • Update: parliament has rejected treating the pension age question now. SP, GL, PVV, and VVD all had their problems with the law, and CDA and PvdA have decided to give in to this substantial minority. This saves the PvdA from having to make a very tough choice.
    (Source: NRC)
  • When it comes to the left vs. right gap, the CU has an uneasy position. Its conservative stance on ethical matters make it right-wing, but its economic policies place it squarely in the centre, or even a bit to the left.
    Today party leader Rouvoet seemed to side with the left by attacking Wilders as “merciless.” Wilders preaches exclusion, while Rouvoet preaches inclusion.
    Anyway, the CU seems to agree with the left more than with the right at this moment. That could be important if neither the left nor the right block conquers an outright majority in the elections.
    (Source: Nederlands Dagblad)
  • And Rouvoet, who is temporary minister of Education and as such also responsible for gay emancipation, will not participate in the Amsterdam Gay Pride Parade. He doesn’t have the time.
    Again, this sort of thing is the only way Rouvoet can distinguish himself from the much larger christian CDA without endangering the government he’s still part of.
    Rouvoet is in a lousy position, and he knows it.
    (Source: Nederlands Dagblad)
  • Finally, microscopic right-wing ToN (the vehicle for former immigration minister Rita Verdonk that competes with the PVV) has dropped a local candidate that was accused of extreme-right sympathies. Moral: vet your candidates, and if you don’t have good candidates, don’t participate. Wilders understands this; Verdonk doesn’t.
    Bye bye, Rita.
    (Source: Volkskrant)
  • And a former local ToN coordinator claims 100,000 euros from Verdonk because she has charged him with stalking after she’d deposed him as local coordinator because he criticised her (non-existent) organisation skills. Now the coordinator’s reputation is damaged (he was a private detective). He’s also going to charge two other ToN members.
    Best of all: this will also damage Verdonk’s reputation.
    Bye bye, Rita.
    (Source: Binnenlands Bestuur)
  • ">

    Small fry; 2 March

    Some small fry that might be of interest to political observers:

    <— Debate 1 March | Article: Kuyper’s world —>

    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.

    If you like this blog, why not donate a little bit of money to help me pay my bills?


    Comments (closed)