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Author Topic: Politics and Elections in the Netherlands  (Read 32115 times)
DavidB.
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« on: October 25, 2017, 11:43:54 am »

Dave doesn't like threads that get too long, so I figured that the inauguration of the new Rutte-III government (VVD, CDA, D66, ChristenUnie), which will take place tomorrow, posed a good occasion to open a new one (the old one can be found here). Have at it.

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« Reply #1 on: October 26, 2017, 09:17:44 am »

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« Reply #2 on: October 26, 2017, 09:44:21 am »

RIP D66
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mvd10
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« Reply #3 on: October 26, 2017, 09:57:39 am »

RIP D66

I also used to think that, but polls show us that D66 voters are actually happy with the coalition agreement (strong focus on climate issues, on which D66 and CU agree). Meanwhile VVD (and to a lesser extent CDA) voters aren't terrible happy with some of the measures like the repeal of the property tax exemption (probably will hurt CDA voters the most) and reducing the mortgage interest deduction for high incomes (will hurt VVD voters the most).

The Zijlstra-Kaag combination at Foreign Affairs will be interesting. Zijlstra is one of the most right-wing VVD politicians and he called the Iran deal a historical mistake in 2015 (he'll definitely be more diplomatic as Foreign Minister though) while Kaag once called Netanyahu a racist and a demagogue, and she also is quite left-wing on asylum issues. They could definitely help each other (Zijlstra has political experience which Kaag lacks, while Kaag has a lot of experience regarding foreign affairs) but there definitely will be some fights.

I'm also interested in Wopke Hoekstra's future. He is the Finance Minister and he still is really young (42). This probably will be Rutte's last term, unless the cabinet falls in 2018/2019 or Rutte decides to go for another term, which both are very possible. But if Rutte decides to retire Hoekstra could be a formidable PM candidate for the CDA, especially since Finance Ministers in the Netherlands usually are very popular. Snd the VVD will either run the charismatic but inexperienced Dijkhoff or the divisive Zijlstra. Buma has to step aside for this to happen, but if this is successful he would go down as the man who did the impossible and made the CDA great again. Hugo de Jonge also could be an alternative to Hoekstra (and they nominated him as Deputy PM), but the Finance Minister always has a lot of prestige while Deputy PM is a pretty meaningless title as long as the PM is around.
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« Reply #4 on: October 26, 2017, 06:38:24 pm »

Wait Kaag is married to a Fatah politician?
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« Reply #5 on: October 26, 2017, 07:11:37 pm »

RIP D66

I also used to think that, but polls show us that D66 voters are actually happy with the coalition agreement (strong focus on climate issues, on which D66 and CU agree). Meanwhile VVD (and to a lesser extent CDA) voters aren't terrible happy with some of the measures like the repeal of the property tax exemption (probably will hurt CDA voters the most) and reducing the mortgage interest deduction for high incomes (will hurt VVD voters the most).

The Zijlstra-Kaag combination at Foreign Affairs will be interesting. Zijlstra is one of the most right-wing VVD politicians and he called the Iran deal a historical mistake in 2015 (he'll definitely be more diplomatic as Foreign Minister though) while Kaag once called Netanyahu a racist and a demagogue, and she also is quite left-wing on asylum issues. They could definitely help each other (Zijlstra has political experience which Kaag lacks, while Kaag has a lot of experience regarding foreign affairs) but there definitely will be some fights.

I'm also interested in Wopke Hoekstra's future. He is the Finance Minister and he still is really young (42). This probably will be Rutte's last term, unless the cabinet falls in 2018/2019 or Rutte decides to go for another term, which both are very possible. But if Rutte decides to retire Hoekstra could be a formidable PM candidate for the CDA, especially since Finance Ministers in the Netherlands usually are very popular. Snd the VVD will either run the charismatic but inexperienced Dijkhoff or the divisive Zijlstra. Buma has to step aside for this to happen, but if this is successful he would go down as the man who did the impossible and made the CDA great again. Hugo de Jonge also could be an alternative to Hoekstra (and they nominated him as Deputy PM), but the Finance Minister always has a lot of prestige while Deputy PM is a pretty meaningless title as long as the PM is around.
Maybe they are happy for now but I believe most of them are clearly leftwinger. That means that they will get pissed soon as this govt, except on environment, is quite rightwing.
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« Reply #6 on: October 27, 2017, 12:41:09 am »

Wait Kaag is married to a Fatah politician?

Yeah. He was shadow Deputy Minister in a Palestinian government or something like that. This combined with her comments about Netanyahu (who she apparently called a racist and demagogue, but to be fair she only cited Israeli demonstrants) and her having a portrait of Arafat in her chamber already made some right-wing sites start a campaign against her. After anti-Zwarte Piet activist Sylvana Simons and far-left Green activist Anne-Fleur Dekker she probably will the the third victim of sexist attacks by De Dagelijkse Standaard (everyone's favorite right-wing site ran by Ayn Rand-loving male students). I'm not really happy with her appointment either, but it doesn't really matter as she's only the Development Aid Minister while Halbe Zijlstra (who is quite literally the opposite of Kaag in every single aspect) will be the actual Foreign Affairs Minister.
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DavidB.
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« Reply #7 on: October 27, 2017, 06:19:42 am »

Worth noting that Kaag's budget is actually bigger than Zijlstra's and that we spend a staggering amount of money on development aid in the Palestinian territories, which means the risk of a conflict of interest is there. Funnily, Kaag's husband actually appeared to be more moderate than herself in an interview with Buitenhof twenty years ago when talking about Benjamin Netanyahu, but who knows what happened to both of their political views in the meantime.

Kaag's daughter liked a tweet in which a friend of her stated that Marwan Barghouti should be the president, which some people also hold against Kaag (but many deem this to be unfair). We do know that her children consider themselves to be Palestinians and that their native language is Arabic: they are not fluent in Dutch. Another new D66 minister, Kajsa Ollongren, raised her children in another language as well: not in New Swedish, like Kaag, but in traditional Swedish. Positive note when it comes to Ollongren: as she is married to a woman, I think she is the first LGBT Deputy Prime Minister in this country.
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mvd10
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« Reply #8 on: October 28, 2017, 10:57:14 am »

CDA leader Buma said the government would ignore the intelligence services referendum result because the referendum law will be abolished anyway (God, I hate that man). D66 isn't happy about this.
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DavidB.
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« Reply #9 on: October 29, 2017, 06:30:03 am »

As mvd10 stated, the first point of disagreement among the coalition parties is already in sight. In March, together with the local elections, a referendum will take place on a new law that will give the intelligence services many more powers than they currently have, mainly when it comes to online communication: no warrant from a judge will be needed to read people's private messages anymore. 400,000 people signed an official petition for a referendum on this law and so it will take place. The complication is that the coalition parties have agreed to abolish the referendum. CDA leader Buma yesterday gave a bold interview to De Volkskrant in which he says considers the referendum (introduced only three years ago, mind) to be "a relic of the past" (while it still exists until a law is adopted to abolish the instrument -- and a referendum can be organized about this law too...) and that "we will not consider this referendum to be a real referendum". Painful for D66, who officially still support referendums (though in practice they couldn't care less), initially opposed the new law, and have a base that will oppose the law and strongly cares about privacy. D66 MP Kees Verhoeven immediately called Buma's comments "unwise" and wants the referendum to be taken seriously. To be continued...

On another forum, somebody asked why the political leaders of CDA, D66 and CU have not entered the government. For Buma and Pechtold, there are two answers to this question: an official one and an unofficial one.

The official answer is that the government only has a majority of one in both chambers of parliament, and that Buma, Pechtold and Segers will do their best to make sure the parliamentary groups will be committed to supporting the government's agenda. For this purpose, there will also be a special meeting on Monday mornings with the "number one" government representatives (Rutte, De Jonge, Ollongren, Schouten) and the parliamentary group leaders (Dijkhoff, Buma, Pechtold, Segers).

The unofficial answer is that Mark Rutte has successfully destroyed or at least greatly damaged the political leaders of all his previous junior coalition partners: Verhagen and Wilders in Rutte-I, Samsom and Asscher in Rutte-II. After governing with Rutte, CDA, PVV and PvdA lost 8, 9 and 29 seats respectively. Part of the reason is that these political leaders were too closely tied to the government. Pechtold and especially Buma are ambitious. Buma wants to become Prime Minister. Meanwhile, nobody really expects this government to remain in office for the full term. We don't even know if Rutte will remain committed to the project for the full 3.5 years (they spoiled 0.5 by negotiating), because the whole VVD assumes that this will be his last term and Donald Tusk's EU job will become vacant in 2019. In other words, the party leaders of CDA and D66 want to be in pole position to start their next election campaigns without too much baggage from the Rutte-III government, and they want to be able to profile themselves very clearly along their own party lines, not along the line of the Rutte-III government. In general this government does not have "one story" like the Rutte-I and -II governments did. Each party frames policy based on its own ideological background, which has led to some really strange sentences in the coalition agreement and may not bode well for the government's duration. An especially likely moment for the government to collapse would be 2019, when the parties will probably lose their majority in the Senate. But with Rutte's extraordinary capability of striking deals with parties across the spectrum, you never know.
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DavidB.
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« Reply #10 on: October 29, 2017, 08:51:39 am »

Meanwhile, PVV -> FvD voter movement continues. Wilders' party is now at a five-year low.

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« Reply #11 on: October 29, 2017, 08:04:39 pm »

Meanwhile, PVV -> FvD voter movement continues. Wilders' party is now at a five-year low.


My reaction to this:

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mvd10
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« Reply #12 on: October 30, 2017, 03:14:25 am »

Meanwhile, PVV -> FvD voter movement continues. Wilders' party is now at a five-year low.


My reaction to this:



I wouldn't be too happy. After the elections PVV and FvD had just 21 seats. Now they have 28 seats, and Baudet's party probably has a higher ceiling than the PVV (but the refugee crisis already showed that the PVV has a very high ceiling).
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« Reply #13 on: October 30, 2017, 10:12:10 am »

Meanwhile, PVV -> FvD voter movement continues. Wilders' party is now at a five-year low.


My reaction to this:



I wouldn't be too happy. After the elections PVV and FvD had just 21 seats. Now they have 28 seats, and Baudet's party probably has a higher ceiling than the PVV (but the refugee crisis already showed that the PVV has a very high ceiling).

If, in a hypothetical scenario this were possible, would PVV and FvD combine to form a government?

Obviously, they would need other parties, but would they be open to the idea?
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« Reply #14 on: October 30, 2017, 11:51:37 am »

lol at SP. Shouldn't they be having some sort of leadership change?
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DavidB.
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« Reply #15 on: October 30, 2017, 01:07:44 pm »

lol at SP. Shouldn't they be having some sort of leadership change?
Lilian Marijnissen, who just entered parliament, is going to lead the party soon, but she needs some time to gain experience.

If, in a hypothetical scenario this were possible, would PVV and FvD combine to form a government?

Obviously, they would need other parties, but would they be open to the idea?
They wouldn't mind cooperating, but no other parties would want to cooperate with the PVV except for the 3-seat SGP (and many would be skeptical about working together with FvD too).
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« Reply #16 on: October 30, 2017, 02:22:34 pm »

Do Wilders and Baudet get on?
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DavidB.
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« Reply #17 on: October 30, 2017, 03:11:07 pm »

Do Wilders and Baudet get on?
Wilders is still in the phase of ignoring Baudet and pretending that he doesn't exist. Baudet still actively shares posts on Twitter that defend Wilders from certain accusations and has always refused to go negative on him.

While there is obviously some strategy involved here, I think Baudet does view Wilders as an ally in terms of policy, and he probably voted for him before founding his own movement. There are obvious ideological differences (in terms of "problem analysis") that run quite deep, but those are not too important in the here and now.
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« Reply #18 on: November 01, 2017, 08:57:47 am »

This morning, the Electoral Council officially declared that there will be a referendum on the Law on Intelligence and Security Services (Wiv). 384,126 signatures were considered to be valid, about 92% of the total number of signatures. The threshold was 300,000. The Electoral Council also stated that it is "likely" that the referendum will take place together with the local elections on 21 March 2018.
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« Reply #19 on: November 01, 2017, 07:23:05 pm »

Meanwhile, PVV -> FvD voter movement continues. Wilders' party is now at a five-year low.


My reaction to this:



I wouldn't be too happy. After the elections PVV and FvD had just 21 seats. Now they have 28 seats, and Baudet's party probably has a higher ceiling than the PVV (but the refugee crisis already showed that the PVV has a very high ceiling).
Im happy to see PVV falling, unhappy to see FVD rising.
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« Reply #20 on: November 03, 2017, 04:32:20 pm »

I have a really hard time seeing this government (with its bare majorities) completing its term, and that's because of the elephant in the room known as Brexit. According to an assessment by Rabobank, this will impact the Dutch economy more severely than generally thought, and the harder the Brexit, the worse it will be.
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DavidB.
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« Reply #21 on: November 08, 2017, 10:27:43 am »

Some good debates in parliament recently. The new government aims to abolish the dividend tax, which will cost 1,4 billion euros. No socio-economic institution tied to the state, like the Netherlands Bureau for Economic Policy Analysis (CPB), endorses this measure, which will not benefit any person in the Netherlands, and to date, not a single economist has been found who is willing to defend it: so much for neoliberals believing in "evidence-based" policy. Even stranger, the measure was not included in a single election manifesto -- it appears, though the coalition says it does "not know" how it ended up with this, that employers' federation VNO-NCW came up with it during the negotiations. The coalition defends it by saying it will make the Netherlands a more attractive place to foreign investors, but had to admit that it was an "estimate" (Buma, Rutte) and even a "guess" (Dijkhoff, VVD parliamentary group leader).

One can imagine that the timing of the release of the Paradise Papers is very unfortunate for the government. One can also imagine why the government chose to retract the proposed budget cut on local nursing facilities (100 million euros) upon pressure from the combined left, and Lodewijk Asscher in particular.

GL, SP and PvdA, with their 37 seats, finally managed to overcome their differences and, for the first time, agreed on an alternative socio-economic policy agenda, which includes scrapping the proposed VAT increase on essential products from 6% to 9%, abolishing healthcare co-payments, increasing wages for public sector workers, and implementing a carbon tax. They would finance this 10-billion plan by increasing corporate taxes and bank taxes, by not enacting this government's income tax cuts and by not abolishing the dividend tax. Asscher and Klaver left a strong impression in the debate, Roemer much less so. Later in the debate, Kees van der Staaij caught people's attention by summarizing his views in "Ten Tweets". Baudet bombed in his first big debate, but his voters don't appear to care.

As for the environmental agenda of the government: it does not seem very convincing. Almost one third of the 49% CO2 reduction that the government aims to reach before 2030 is supposed to come from storing the CO2 underground ("Carbon Capture and Storage", CCS) rather than actually reducing emission. We have never even stored any CO2 underground: a pilot to do this in Barendrecht, a Rotterdam suburb, caused a big uproar. The director of this industry's lobby organization himself says he was completely bewildered when he read the coalition agreement: he thought the figure was a typo and said this ambition is "completely unrealistic", and McKinsey released a report in which it thinks only one sixth of the target for 2030 is realistic in 2040. Other projected emission reductions are also based on the doubtful effects of unknown technologies. In other words, the climate targets of the coalition agreement will not be reached and I guess D66 and CU will soon find out themselves.
« Last Edit: November 08, 2017, 10:44:40 am by DavidB. »Logged

mvd10
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« Reply #22 on: November 08, 2017, 11:23:55 am »

There are some economists who support this, but it's mainly support by fiscalists (which is an entirely different field to be fair). Theoretically the dividend tax is a terrible tax that should be eliminated (my opinion), but a lot of foreign taxpayers can get a rebate on this tax from their own government so net it doesn't really make a difference for them (while it would save the foreign governments a lot of money in rebates, but that doesn't do anything to help the Dutch economy). With Rutte I wouldn't be surprised if he did this to satisfy Merkel, Macron and Trump lol (basically a form of foreign aid to rich countries).

I'd prefer a further corporate tax cut (or perhaps a deduction for equity to reduce the debt bias in the corporate tax, like the Belgian ACE). Anyway, most tax measures designed to help the economy are "guesses", so that doesn't necessarily make it a bad thing Tongue. But just reducing the corporate tax rate seems like a safer bet to attract foreign investors if that is want the government wants (and it could be combined with getting rid of some of the more outrageous Dutch tax loopholes for multinationals).

Anyway, the CPB also calculated that the GL-SP-PvdA proposals would help the economy in the short term (higher demand), but it would actually reduce employment in the long term (because of higher tax rates). Doesn't seem like a good approach for a booming economy to me Tongue (not that the government is any better, they're literally going to splurge 2% of GDP during a boom period with low unemployment in a country known for very volatile boom and bust cycles).

The CPB model isn't perfect by the way. They're good at what they do, but because of austerity they don't have the resources to look at the effects of corporate taxes, taxes on capital or investments in R&D or education anymore. They currently only model the effects of taxes and/or welfare spending on the labour supply and short-term GDP growth. D66 even threatened to boycot the traditional CPB calculation of the party platforms because of this.
« Last Edit: November 08, 2017, 11:28:36 am by mvd10 »Logged

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DavidB.
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« Reply #23 on: November 08, 2017, 12:05:35 pm »

Of course there are a lot of ifs and buts, and yes, there are always unknowns in economic and fiscal policy, but the idea that abolishing the dividend tax will help the Netherlands attract more companies is completely unfounded and it seems unwise to spend 1,4 billion euros on it. I support lowering corporate taxes if it is clear that this would create jobs. This measure won't do that.

On a lighter note, for those who speak Dutch: I found this website and this letter by Willem Gomes, municipal councilmember of the New Communist Party of the Netherlands in Heiloo, paradoxically a very affluent suburb. Dude is completely nuts, believes in chemtrails. Hilarious how a guy like him keeps getting re-elected.
« Last Edit: November 12, 2017, 03:10:56 pm by Gucci Gang »Logged

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« Reply #24 on: November 08, 2017, 12:21:40 pm »

There are commies outside of Groningen Shocked? GL and SP aren't represented in their municipal council, perhaps the commies are in because GL and SP didn't run? Heiloo also isn't that left-wing, the VVD got 35% in 2012 and 30% in 2017. The VVD vote isn't really a good measure for determining how right-wing a municipality is though. There are a lot of religious municipalities where the VVD barely gets 15-20% and there are some big cities where the VVD scores only slightly below their national average but where the overall right is very weak (damn I went offtopic).

I agree that the dividend tax cut probably isn't the best idea btw, theoretically it might be a good idea (according to me atleast, and I'm not really an authority on this lol) but at second glance it looks a lot like subsidizing foreign governments. They probably didn't really think this out.
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The evolution of my dreams

The death of the arts to the forces of rationalization and greed, encapsulated in a single man. Sad
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