Erosion of traditional Dutch values is voters' main concern, new poll finds

Erosion of traditional Dutch values is voters’ main concern, new poll finds

The erosion of traditional Dutch values is the main concern of voters heading into the March 15 general election, according to research by Ipos for broadcaster NOS. In total, 86% of the 1,100 people questioned said they were concerned or very concerned about norms and values. A large majority feel that traditional standards are in decline and just one in 10 expect an improvement in the coming years, Ipsos said. Over 80% are also concerned about immigration and refugees, and a similar percentage regard the health service as a major issue. Some 50% said they consider the arrival of 'non-western' immigrants to be a threat to Dutch values, a position endorsed by a majority of PVV, Christian Democrat, VVD and 50Plus voters. The poll also looked at voter attitudes to new US president Donald Trump. Two out three people said he was not doing a good job, and only one third of PVV voters had good words to say about the president, despite Geert Wilders' backing. The Dutch government wants all new arrivals in the country to sign an official declaration saying they uphold Dutch norms and values, which include freedom of speech, freedom of religion and equality between men and women.  More >

Wilders halts public appearances

Election 2017 Geert Wilders has suspended the PVV's public election campaign activities because of the corruption scandal involving a key official in the police protection squad. The latest revelations are 'extremely unsettling', Wilders said on Twitter. Until all the facts have been uncovered, the PVV will not take part in any public campaign activities, Wilders said. The NRC reported on Wednesday that one officer in the squad, which is charged with protecting the royal family as well as Wilders, had been arrested on suspicion of leaking information to a money-laundering gang. On Thursday, the AD said Faris K had been under suspicion when he worked in Utrecht. Sources also told the paper his brother had been sacked by the police for similar offences. Meanwhile, judges in The Hague ruled on Thursday that Faris should not be remanded in custody while the investigation continues. Suspects can only be kept in jail ahead of their trial if they are suspected of serious crimes or are potential absconders. Ministers said on Wednesday there is no reason to think that Wilders' security had been compromised by K.  More >

Campaign trail: 30% ruling under threat

Election 2017 The Netherlands goes to the polls to elect a new lower house of parliament in 20 days time. Here's an update of the main campaign news on Thursday. Dutch abroad A record 77,500 Dutch nationals who either live abroad or will be away on holiday have signed up to vote on March 15. In 2012, fewer than 50,000 Dutch expats registered to vote. D66 parliamentary hopeful Eelco Keij, who campaigns for the rights of Dutch expats, says both his and other parties cannot afford to longer disregard the Dutch abroad. 'Both politically and in electoral terms, they are now a factor of importance,' said Keij, who is hoping to get elected on preference votes. Expat ruling under threat The ruling VVD is the only party with no plans to change the 30% tax ruling for expats, according to an analysis of the various party manifestos, quoted by the Financieele Dagblad. The PvdA, Socialists, Christian Democrats, GroenLinks and several minor parties want to scrap the scheme entirely, while others are proposing cuts. Last year, the national audit office said it is completely unclear what the benefits of the scheme, which costs some €800m a year, actually are. More older voters The over-65s account for 24% of the 12.9 million people eligible to vote in the March 15 general election, the national statistics office CBS says. Pensioners are also the most likely to actually vote. In 2012, 86% of the over-65s voted, compared with 71% of the under-35s. 50Plus and the CDA drew the most pensioner votes last time round. 50Plus pickle 50Plus leader Henk Krol appears to have gotten himself in a bit of a pickle over the party's pledge to reduce the pension age back to 65 - something which he had made a condition of joining a coalition government. Earlier this week, the party itself sent out a report which shows reducing the pension age cannot be done unless the state pension is reduced... something which it had always strenuously denied. Krol himself then said that reducing the state pension age would be about 'choosing the lesser of two evils'. 50Plus had been projected to win up eight to 10 seats in the 150 seat parliament. Environmental efforts A report commissioned by three environmental groups - Greenpeace, Milieudefensie and Natuur & Milieu - says transport is responsible for over 25% of Dutch carbon dioxide emissions. The three groups are calling on the next coalition to commit itself to ensuring that this does not go up even further, as it is predicted to do. Instead the next government should introduce extra taxes on flying, road pricing (tax per kilometre) and reduce the speed limit.  More >

Campaign trail: health and GroenLinks

Campaign trail: healthcare, GroenLinks under fire and Moroccan scum The Dutch will elect a new government in 23 days time and campaigning is well under way. Here’s a round-up of the weekend's election news. Healthcare fund The Socialist Party managed to attract some 6,000 supporters to The Hague on Saturday to demonstrate in favour of a national healthcare fund, which would end competition between insurers and end the €385 excess charge. Party leader Emil Roemer and Henk Krol of 50Plus were joined for a debate later by Jesse Klaver of GroenLinks and Lodewijk Asscher of the PvdA, both of whom said they could not support the plan. The pro-animal PvdD is the only other party to supports the establishment of a national healthcare fund. GroenLinks under fire GroenLinks leader Jesse Klaver can be confident he is doing something right - given the party's surge in the polls. The Telegraaf newspaper this weekend launched a major attack on Klaver, accusing him of making up stories about his difficult upbringing. In particular, Klaver exaggerated the reluctance of the Catholic church to baptise him, lied about his 'difficult' school days and gave the wrong impression about the area he grew up in, the paper said. Later, Labour's finance minister Jeroen Dijsselbloem told website that GroenLinks's plans for a high speed introduction of new environmental policies would  'dislocate' the economy. Someone forced to commute 80 kilometres a day to get too and from work by car would lose €300 a month in travel allowance if Klaver had his way, Dijsselbloem said. Moroccan scum The mass attention for the launch of the PVV election campaign in Spijkenisse on Saturday generated a dozens of headlines about Moroccan scum in the world's press. The BBC, Guardian, Telegraph and ITV were among those focusing on Wilders' introductory words in English, as did Deutsche Welle in Germany, The Times of Israel, Russia Today and New York Times. However, while the foreign press used to refer to Wilders as a potential future prime minister, most papers now referred to the party's drop in the polls and the fact no other parties are willing to form a coalition with him.  More >

Campaign trail: a new poll of polls

Campaign trail: A new poll of polls shows PVV support is down With three weeks to go before the general election, a new poll of polls puts the PVV and VVD almost level pegging. Here's a round up of the latest election campaign news. Level pegging A new poll of polls puts Geert Wilders' PVV on between 24 and 28 seats in the March 15 general election, after several individual polls marked down his support significantly. The difference between the PVV and ruling VVD (23-27) is no longer significant, according to pollster Tom Louwerse, who points out that VVD backing has been virtually unchanged for weeks. All the polls were taken before Wilders pulled out of a second televised debate, so the effect of that has not yet been measured. The poll also shows that Denk, founded by two dissident PvdA MPs, is the only new party which is likely to win a seat in parliament.  More >