Senate is undermining parliament, has no added value, says VVD leader

Halbe Zijlstra, who leads the VVD in the lower house of parliament, says the senate should be abolished if it refuses to pass government legislation for politicial reasons.

In an interview with the Telegraaf, Zijlstra says senators should focus on assessing the quality of legislation, whatever their political colour. ‘If the senate is going to continue to undermine the lower house then you have a double up of their roles. Then the upper house has no added value,’ Zijlstra said.

The cabinet, made up of the VVD and Labour, controls a majority of seats in the lower house of parliament but is eight seats short of a majority in the upper house. Legislation has to be passed by both houses.

The senate has traditionally acted as a venue to check legislation on its quality rather than its political perspective. But senators have made it clear they expect concessions from the government in a number of areas, such as abolishing student grants, in return for their support.

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