Balkenende’s leadership under fire

Liberal (VVD) leader Mark Rutte accused prime minister Jan Peter Balkenende of showing a ‘chronic lack of leadership’ during Thursday’s debate on the government’s performance over the past year.

‘You have lost the way in a plate of spaghetti of your own making,’ Rutte said.
The VVD leader said that the government was wrong to try to create the impression that all was well with the Netherlands. The international credit crisis will affect the country, Rutte said, pointing out that economic growth had come to a standstill. ‘A whirlwind is heading our way,’ the NRC quoted him as saying.
During his news conference yesterday, Balkenende attacked cynicism and negativism about the cabinet’s achievements and said that the Dutch economy was the envy of its European neighbours.
Balkenende’s own party, the Christian Democrats, urged the government to make the results of its actions more visible in order to boost confidence in the cabinet. ‘That would give the man in the street a positive feeling,’ CDA parliamentary leader Pieter van Geel was reported as saying by the NRC.
Socialist party leader Jan Marijnissen also attacked Balkenende’s role. ‘Cynicism on the shop floor is growing. You show neither insight nor leadership,’ he told the prime minister.
The debate is set to continue into the late evening.

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