One-third of Dutch MPs bow out, the voter has spoken says Verbeet
In total, 51 MPs are leaving parliament on Wednesday, as the new-look lower house prepares to be sworn in.
Fourteen Christian Democrat, nine PVV and seven GroenLinks parliamentarians are among those leaving. All three parties did badly in last week’s general election.
Among those standing down voluntarily is parliamentary chairwoman Gerdi Verbeet of the PvdA, who has been an MP since 2001. She announced her plans to leave before the election.
Addressing parliament for the last time, Verbeet said: ‘the voters have spoken and we are losing colleagues’. Verbeet was one of several MPs to be given a knighthood.
CDA dissidents Ad Koppejan and Kathleen Ferrier who campaigned against the alliance with Geert Wilders’ anti-immigration PVV are also out.
Tofik Dibi, who challenged GroenLinks leader Jolande Sap has lost his seat, after failing to win enough preference votes to remain in parliament.
With 99 MPs remaining in parliament, Mariëtte Hamer (PvdA), Kees van der Staaij (SGP), Harry van Bommel (SP) and Jan de Wit (SP) become the longest-serving members. All four have been an MP for 14 years and four months.
Earlier this year, parliament reduced the unemployment benefits package for MPs who have lost their jobs. Depending on their length of service, MPs can now claim benefits for three years and two months, rather than four years, bringing the time limit in line with that of the general public.
MPs will be able to claim 80% of their salary of around €7,000 a month for the first year, followed by 70% for the remaining period. Ministers who lose their jobs when the new coalition is agreed get the same deal.
Is one-third too many to ensure parliament has enough experience? Have your say using the comment box below.
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