You can have a lot of fun officiating, but there are also bad weeks. This also applies to the mere desire to rule, as the Freedom Party discovered this week. It is difficult to work with one foot in the opposition and one foot in a new coalition.
The new Socialist Party leader, Jimmy Dick, had meticulously prepared the plan during the discussion of the Ministry of Health's budget. “I have a proposal here to abolish the deduction,” he said in an invitation to PVV MP Flor Agima. “I already put your name on it.”
Ajima – an avowed opponent of her opponent – does not usually allow herself to be told twice. But now the party has been canceled after all. Initially, she had objections to Dick's coverage of the $1 billion budget intervention. But when the SP member immediately gave up and suggested that they look for another cover together, Agema agreed and had to point out that PVV was simply busy trying to form. “Two of the parties we are currently talking to are not in favor of it. The National Security Council is against and the VVD is against. So I have a big task there. And I can't get ahead of myself.
About the author
Raoul du Pré is the head of the magazine's political editorial team De Volkskrant.
There is little chance that the Freedom Party will agree to a coalition deal in which the discount is not eliminated or at least significantly reduced. This is one of Wilders' main demands. But the rest of the House of Representatives is no longer interested. Ajima was vilified in the boardroom and on social media.
Party leader Wilders was present during the television debate SBS In November, GroenLinks-PvdA leader Frans Timmermans was not treated harshly because he said in a conversation with a constituent that he wanted to fight poverty “step by step”? Ma'am can't wait. Madam, you must now “You have money,” Wilders quipped at the time. “The fact that the leader of the Social Democratic Party does not say: ‘We will abolish it tomorrow’ is shameful.”
Different timing, different position for the Freedom Party. Wilders is now going through a whole new phase after he has the initiative in the formation, and he has also won many seats from the parties that want to regain them. Parties that will from now on do everything in their power to convince voters that they have made a mistake.
Jimmy Dick has extracted an old political trick from Binnenhof: you take the election manifesto of the party that makes up the party, make proposals with which that party cannot disagree, and wait for the result. Success is guaranteed, because the basic rule in any formation – which is by definition a process of give-and-take fraught with risks – is for the speaking parties to focus on each other for a period of time. Therefore, do not impose your will through the back door with the help of other parties.
Hence political principles are of equally secondary importance. This also applies to the parties who become angry with him afterwards. So it happened on Wednesday that even D66, a convinced supporter of the opponent, pretended to be puzzled about the PVV's position: “I have to kind of recover from this ambiguity,” said D66 MP Wieke Paulusma. “What can FFP voters count on?”
This won't be the last time. PVV themselves have eagerly applied the trick in previous lineups. Therefore, other factions will show little mercy. Wilders may not have forgotten how the Socialist Party, after last being allowed to form in 2010, successfully campaigned for months by tirelessly listing Wilder's “broken promises”.
On Thursday, Agima had to rely on the help of Minister Connie Helder, who, on behalf of the outgoing government, announced without any hesitation that canceling the discount was not an option any time soon. There are laws on the way and practical objections. “Repeal puts pressure on health care affordability,” Helder said. “And also access, because the demand for care will increase because of the loss of the suppression effect.” The Minister expects waiting lists to increase.
The government previously announced that this was not possible without major changes to the Health Insurance Law. “It usually takes at least a year and a half for such a change in the law.”
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