At the kick-off of the elections for Provincial Council in Dordrecht, VVD leader Mark Rutte again warned about the ‘left cloud’ of GroenLinks and PvdA. “The smaller they get, the better it is,” Rutte said. “They’ll only bother you.”
The campaign for the March 15 elections, and then the indirect elections for the Senate, are ‘really about something’, Rutte said. ‘It’s about whether the Netherlands is going left or right.’ He vehemently opposed some of the positions of GroenLinks and PvdA in the field of taxation and security.
For example, Rutte denounced the statement by GroenLinks leader Jesse Klaver that raising taxes is ‘a goal in itself, regardless of what you are going to do with that money. So that’s very serious.’ The VVD does not want taxes to go up, Rutte emphasized.
At the end of the election kick-off, in a busy pub with beer and bitterballen, Rutte said he could handle a ‘small left-wing cloud’, ‘but it should not become a cloudburst.’
At the start of the election campaign, however, the VVD leader emphasized security, a traditionally liberal theme. He vehemently opposed the votes of GroenLinks and PvdA against the bill to increase the maximum sentence for manslaughter from 15 to 25 years. The proposal did pass, but not by the two left-wing parties.
Rutte also did not have a good word for the attitude of the two left-wing parties that recently blocked a bill to impose prison sentences on people who use violence against ambulance personnel, police and employees in healthcare and public transport. Rutte finds it ‘completely unacceptable’ that in the event of violence against these people, the perpetrators can get away with community service. ‘I think a prison sentence is an appropriate punishment, a vote for the VVD is a vote for a safer Netherlands.’
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Opposition to nitrogen law
A large part of the opposition turns out to be against the government’s nitrogen law. In the TV program Buitenhof, Caroline van der Plas, (BBB), Jesse Klaver (GroenLinks), Lilian Marijnissen (SP), Attje Kuiken (PvdA), Annabel Nanninga (JA21), Esther Ouwehand (PvdD) were asked for their opinion on the law.
For example, Klaver and Kuiken want to include in the law that industry and aviation must also contribute to reducing nitrogen emissions. Marijnissen wants less focus on farmers and, in particular, fewer mega stables in the country. Van der Plas believes that there is too much emphasis on nitrogen in the first place and Ouwehand believes that the law does not go far enough.