Rutte under fire over suspected senate deal on Zeeland

Prime minister Mark Rutte has been summoned to parliament to explain why he and Geert Wilders, leader of the anti-Islam party PVV, held a private meeting in his offices with a non-aligned provincial councillor.

Johan Robesin, who represents the Zeeland Party, has decided to vote for ‘the coalition government’ in the May 23 senate vote, following the meeting, Nos said earlier this week. Earlier it was thought Robesin would support new party 50Plus.
Robesin’s support is crucial for the cabinet, which hopes to win a majority in the 75-seat senate but is currently one seat short. The senate is chosen by provincial councillors.
Labour leader Job Cohen said it is ´extremely serious’ that Rutte and Wilders – who is not a member of the government – had the meeting, which is said to have lasted almost two hours.
D66 leader Alexander Pechtold said the meeting showed how dependent the prime minister is on Wilders. Wilders can ‘no longer criticise the way others take decisions behind closed doors,’ Pechtold says in the Parool.
Rutte has already denied making any promises to the Zeeland politician.
However, Robesin says in an interview in the Parool both leaders gave him their mobile phone numbers and told him to ring if he had any issues. They also promised no more parts of Zeeland would be flooded in order to create nature, he said.
‘Mark was very enthusiastic when I rang him last week to tell him I had decided to vote for the coalition,’ Robesin told the paper. ‘He said it was a fantastic decision.’

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