Press Review Tuesday 3 August 2010

3rd August 2010, Comments 0 comments

The political row over the coalition formation has turned very bitter now that it appears likely that negotiations toward a right-wing minority cabinet with parliamentary support from the anti-Islam, far-right PVV is on the cards.

The mood in The Hague is sour and angry and the papers love it; there is news in abundance and it’s not all silly stuff. Mind you, that doesn’t mean there aren’t one or two silly stories: after all, Crabzilla is coming!

Bitter dispute over formation process Most of the papers lead with articles on the difficult coalition formation process and the storm of criticism that has broken over Ruud Lubbers, the former Christian Democrat prime minister appointed as coalition facilitator by Queen Beatrix last week.

“Fierce battle over negotiation process,” headlines de Volkskrant. The paper says senior politicians are furious with Mr Lubbers and accuse him of ignoring his remit: he was tasked with putting together a majority cabinet but he has allowed three parties to hold independent talks and work toward a minority cabinet. Christian Union leader André Rouvoet characterised the results of Mr Lubbers efforts as “the worst possible outcome”.

“Lubbers must abide by the rules,” fumes D66 leader Alexander Pechtold, adding, “the VVD, CDA and PVV have pretty much said forget about the coalition facilitator, we’ll sort it out in a back room’. A minority coalition is unstable”.

“Cohen lashes out,” writes AD, adding, “Labour leader fed up with being blamed for right-wing cabinet in spe”. On Sunday, VVD leader Mark Rutte said Job Cohen was “the midwife of the right-wing cabinet”. The accusation has been fiercely denied by the Labour leader: “Absolute rubbish,” snarls Cohen to journalists. He says the CDA is “hiding” behind Labour and points out, “No one is forcing them to cooperate with the PVV. The Christian Democrats could also decide not to work with Wilders”.

De Telegraaf seems to be enjoying the row and gloats, “Sour faces on the left”. The paper pours salt into the wound with a front-page photograph of Mark Rutte and his advisors, “Sun shines for VVD,” crows the paper.

Newsmonitor: media contributed to rise of Wilders De Volkskrant reports that Newsmonitor, a Dutch institute for journalism that analyses news and media reporting, says the media “helped Geert Wilders achieve victory in the 9 June elections”.

According to the paper, the institute analysed the coverage of Mr Wilders and his far-right PVV in the national newspapers and concluded that the huge amount of media attention – whether negative or positive – helped to raise the anti-Islam politician’s profile and helped his party win a record number of seats in parliament.

Camp Holland to retain name Dutch forces officially withdrew from Afghanistan on Sunday but left many lasting reminders of their efforts in the central Asian country.

AD and De Telegraaf both report that the British commander of ISAF forces in southern Afghanistan has decided to keep the name Camp Holland as a mark of respect for the Dutch efforts and achievements in Uruzgan.

AD writes “The Dutch camp began in 2006 and will continue as Camp Holland”.

Social Inclusion Games in Enschede De Volkskrant reports on the second edition of the Social Inclusion Games, “the Olympics for drug addicts, the homeless and other socially marginalized groups,” which kicked off at the University of Twente yesterday.

The initial event was held in Denmark last year and was such a success that two Dutch organisations, Humanitas and the Federation of Shelters, decided to stage the games in Netherlands.

Bernd Timmerman, head of communications, tells the paper, “Sport is the method par excellence for social integration”. More than 1,000 people from eight European countries are taking part in the games and he says that participants “realise that sport can make them feel good, both physically and mentally”.

Mr Timmerman says the Social Integration Games aim to help people reintegrate into society and show councils and housing organisations that it is possible to work successfully with drug addicts and homeless people, “that’s one reason that we emphasise what people can achieve”.

Giant crab on show in Scheveningen The world’s largest crab goes on show at Sea Life in Scheveningen today and while AD has the best photo of the giant spider crab, has the best headline: “Crabzilla is coming”.

AD's front-page photograph of the 3.5 metre, 15-kilogram giant spider crab is impressive and a bit scary. Just when you thought it was safe to get back in the water!  

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