Prime minister Mark Rutte told a television talk show on Friday evening he had pledged to decimate the anti-immigration PVV in a moment of weakness after Geert Wilders pulled out of austerity talks.
The statement pledging to destroy the PVV came out of anger, Rutte told the Pauw & Witteman show. Rutte admitted he had not spoken to the PVV leader since the talks collapsed last month but said he believed his ‘personal relationship’ with Wilders remained good.
In addition, Rutte said he would not focus on the PVV during the election campaign. Nor would he rule out forming a coalition with Wilders again, although he said it would be unlikely. ‘But then I do not rule out working with the Socialist Party either,’ the prime minister said.
Nevertheless, Rutte said: ‘Wilders did walk away from his responsibilities and thus a vote for the PVV is a lost vote’.
In a reaction, Wilders told Nos radio the prime minister appeared to be in a panic. ‘He won’t manage to destroy the PVV but that is what he is doing to the Netherlands,’ Wilders said.
The prime minister also used the show to outline his strategy for the September 12 general election.
The campaign will focus on explaining the need to bring the Netherlands out of the crisis as a stronger economy, he said. Given the crisis in the housing market, the VVD is not in favour of any further changes to mortgage tax relief, the VVD leader stated.
The minority government and three other parties have agreed to phase out the tax break for all mortgages which do not involve repaying the principle loan.
The increase in value-added tax which the five parties have agreed is necessary and people will be compensated for the increase next year, Rutte told his television audience.
‘The budget agreement is for 2013. Every party will show [in the campaign] what they would like to do in the following years,’ the prime minister said.
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