Campaigns for the March 18 provincial elections kicked off this weekend, with both the right-wing Liberal VVD and the anti-immigration PVV wrestling with integrity issues.
The PVV, which hopes to emerge as the biggest party after the vote, was hit by revelations that its senate campaign leader Marjolein Faber employed her son’s company to run the Gelderland PVV website.
The NRC reported on Saturday his company was paid €8,500 of taxpayers’ money to maintain the website. The situation is particularly noteworthy because Faber has made political integrity a major issue and campaigned for the dismissal of junior minister Co Verdaas over his expenses in 2012, the paper says.
The revelations forced party leader Geert Wilders onto the defensive at the launch of the PVV campaign on Saturday, the Financieele Dagblad reports. He described Faber’s actions as ‘clumsy’ but said she had solved the problem properly by paying back the money from her own pocket.
Meanwhile, the VVD is still coping with the fall-out from the resignation of parliamentarian Mark Verheijen over his expenses claims. Prime minister and party leader Mark Rutte put a positive spin on the issue on Saturday by saying the issue shows the VVD has ‘the highest standards’ when it comes to integrity issues.
Opinion polls show the VVD, PVV and Liberal democratic party D66 are current campaign leaders. The 12 provincial governments go on to elect the 75 members of the upper house of parliament and the ruling coalition is set to fall far short of an overall majority.
Local government website Binnenlands Bestuur said on Saturday the PVV is set to be sidelined in all 12 provincial council coalitions, even if it emerges as the biggest party.
The website’s researchers say the Christian Democrats and D66 are likely to form the core of nearly all the new provincial executives and these parties are ‘most negative’ about the PVV.
The VVD and the Christian fundamentalist SGP are least negative about the PVV but the VVD is losing support and the SGP is only competing in seven provinces, the website said. The PVV’s best chance of taking part in a provincial council is in Flevoland and Zeeland.
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