So. With four days to go, the signs of desperation are starting to show. The political parties may have spent months polishing their glossy manifestos but – right at the last minute – all these new initiatives have suddenly come rolling out.
The Liberals (VVD) have just decided that young, nuisance drinkers should be made to do community service at weekends – and that their parents should be fined. Especially opportune, coming so hard on the heels of the justice and home affairs ministries’ plans to introduce banning orders for yobs.
But, equally interesting as all these last-minute, vote-grabbing tactics are what the parties say about the essentials of any coalition agreement. Labour leader, Wouter Bos, has come up with seven, cast-iron conditions. If they don’t appear in a coalition agreement, Labour will not take part in government, says Bos.
Labour’s breaking points include: tackling poverty, more work, zero tolerance for fraud, intimidation and anti-social behaviour, as well as a general pardon for the 26,000 ‘old’ asylum seekers.
Whilst VVD number two Rita Verdonk has said her party would never agree to a general pardon for the ‘old’ asylum seekers.
The latest polls put the VVD and Labour on a seven- and nine-seat loss, respectively. What else have they got up their sleeves before Wednesday?