Cheers, party time!
The breaking news here in the Netherlands is that Geert Wilders has left
the building. And 'the building' is the so-called Catshuis, the seat of
our prime-Minister. It is here that, during the past 7 weeks, the VVD
(Right wing progressives) and CDA (christian-democrats) have negotiated with the PVV
(Freedom Party) to establish further austerity measures. And our
prime-Minister Mark Rutte has just explained to the public that
apparently the Freedom Party was not willing to take its responsibility.
CDA-delegate Verhagen has mirrored this remark so we can see that the
blame-game has now started.
It is interesting to note that this step of Wilders occured only 12
hours after the group was provided with the data of the Dutch Planning
Agency that had calculated the impact of the austerity-measures. And our
foreign readers should also note that Wilders is increasingly losing
momentum. Hero Brinkman has left the PVV, a couple of weeks ago. And the
quite unelegant bashing of the Queen as well as Turkish official Gül
last week, didn't win him a lot of supporters either (he immediately
lost 2 seats in the polls).
So now we find ourselves in a tricky situation in the Netherlands: we
need austerity measures and we need our government to act. But the
support-construction with the Freedom Party have turned the past 2 years
into a standstill with no serious economic reforms and lots of symbolic
regulatory measures to please the public (and the PVV-voter). So while
everyone in the Netherlands understands the need to reform, it is also
clear that it is now time for new elections. The experiment with PVV has
failed to work.
Our Prime Minister has of course phoned the Queen but has not resigned
yet. He stated that the situation is so serious that he wants to discuss
further steps with Parliament. And he leaves open the possibility that
there will first be an agreement on government finances and afterwards
elections. While some parties will want to follow this pragmatic route,
it remains to be seen if the big opposition parties such as the left
wing Socialistische Partij and the Partij van de Arbeid are willing to
Geert Wilders has also given a press conference, just now, and he
specifically blames Europe. He had outlined that he has stepped away,
that he no longer supports the minority-government. And he stated that
especially the cuts for elderly pensioners formed a serious issue for
him.In the press-talk afterwards he repeatedly outlined that he did not
wish to comply with the 3% rule of Brussel. So he started blaming
Brussels and he started the election game.
It is clear to me that for Wilders, the duration of his cooperation with
the minority-government was long enough to gain creditibility as a true
states-man. And as he is losing support among the public, as his party
starts to crumble, he must have decided that if ever, now is the time to
capitalize on his popularity and to try his jump to become the biggest
party in the Netherlands. In doing so he demonstrates one more that his
major quality is one of walking away.
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