Coalition's deal sparks emergency debate

29th March 2005, Comments 0 comments

29 March 2005, AMSTERDAM — The Dutch Parliament was to hold an emergency debate on Tuesday about the coalition accord the three government parties reached over the Easter weekend to avert a Cabinet collapse.

29 March 2005

AMSTERDAM — The Dutch Parliament was to hold an emergency debate on Tuesday about the coalition accord the three government parties reached over the Easter weekend to avert a Cabinet collapse.

Main opposition party Labour PvdA demanded the emergency debate, but left-wing parties GroenLinks and the Socialist SP have also criticised the agreements the coalition parties entered into over democratic reform.

Although not opposed in principle to the direct election of mayors, Bos has warned that his party will vote against any renewed effort to amend the Dutch Constitution.

Such an amendment is necessary if the government wishes to enact its plan for direct mayoral elections. But a two-thirds majority is necessary and Bos has said any new proposal in this area would be "suicide" politics.

He also said the three coalition parties no longer have anything in common. Sensing blood, Bos said the accord between the Christian Democrat CDA, Liberal VVD and Democrat D66 had only postponed a cabinet crisis.

The PvdA leader also claimed that any policy could now be "sold off". He said what was one day a "crown jewel" policy, could be very easily dismissed the next. He was referring to the D66 push to implement the direct election of mayors.

After the PvdA blocked the necessary constitutional amendment in the Senate last week, the D66 demanded fresh policy concessions from the CDA and VVD. The D66 subsequently won more funding for education and new concessions on democratic reform, averting the collapse of the government.

But SP leader Jan Marijnissen claims the D66 has lost its credibility now that it has opted to continue its coalition with the CDA and VVD, newspaper De Volkskrant reported.

GroenLinks leader Femke Halsema said D66 has pawned its demand for direct mayoral elections and electrical system reform to the CDA and VVD in exchange for greater education funding.

Following the resignation of D66 Government Reform Minister Thom de Graaf after he lost the Senate vote last week, party leader Boris Dittrich said the D66 had entered into government for more than just democratic reform.

And amid indications that it would not let its democratic reform agenda break the coalition, the party demanded alternative policy concessions.

Besides winning more funding for education and the "knowledge economy", the D66 is now aiming to introduce the direct election of mayors from 2010.

It also intends to revamp the public broadcast system by eliminating entertainment shows in place of news, opinion and art and culture. According to D66 Culture State Secretary Medy van der Laan, political satires such as Kopspijkers will survive the shake-up.

D66 grassroots supporters must decide at a party congress on Saturday whether they will accept the new accord. The expected 'yes vote' could save the cabinet from falling mid-way through its first term in office. Elections are not due until 2007.

[Copyright Expatica News 2005]

Subject: Dutch news

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