Divorce, tax increases and calls to prayer: more emerges about party election plans

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With six months to go to the general election, more is emerging about how the myriad of political parties in the Netherlands plan to profile themselves ahead of the vote.

According to the Telegraaf, the Labour party (PvdA) want to scrap the €385 own-risk element in the basic health insurance package and increase income tax by 1% across each tax band to pay for it.

The paper says the plan has been revealed by MP Henk Nijboer, who is also a member of the manifesto committee. Although several parties want to scrap the fee, Labour is the first one to say how the move should be paid for, the paper points out.

The AD says the fundamentalist Christian party SGP wants a ban on the Muslim call to prayer. Party leader Kees van der Staaij says the public announcement from mosques is contributing to the ‘Islamisation of public space’ and should be forbidden.

The party says it is not concerned a ban could also have an impact on church bells. ‘It has already been established that church bells are part of Dutch culture, unrelated to church services,’ the paper quotes Van der Staaij as saying.

The left-leaning ChristenUnie, which like the SGP believes that the Bible should be the basis of Dutch society, says that marriage therapy should be included in the basic health insurance package in an effort to reduce the divorce rate.

One in three marriages in the Netherlands break down but this could be cut if it was easier for couples to get therapy, the party says. Its full manifesto will be published later on Friday.

Student grants

The Christian Democrats published their draft manifesto earlier this week. The plans include the reintroduction of military service, more investment in defence and security and the return of student grants.

The draft document has now been sent to local parties for consultations and the party’s election plans will be finalised in January next year.

The ruling VVD and the anti-Islam PVV have already published their manifestos.

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