Pieter Omtzigt, leader of the fledgling new party Nieuw Sociaal Contract, has told students that he feels closest to Frans Timmermans, leader of the GroenLinks/PvdA alliance, and pro-farmers party BBB when it comes to dealing with financial security.
But on migration, Omtzigt said he felt more affinity to VVD leader Dilan Yesilgoz, who, despite being a refugee herself, has called for tough new limits on immigration.
Omzigt’s party, which has not yet published its manifesto, was also the preferred coalition partner of Caroline van der Plas, leader of the BBB, whose party dominated the recent provincial elections and is now the biggest in the upper house, or senate.
Omtzigt, Van der Plas, Timmermans and Yesilgoz, were being questioned by students on the College Tour talk show on Sunday evening. It was the first televised debate of the election campaign. The vote will take place on November 22.
Omtzigt, whose party is also slightly ahead of Timmermans and Yesilgoz in the polls, also declined to say who would be his party’s candidate for prime minister, having said himself several times that he did not want the job.
The party’s manifesto will be published on Tuesday, Omtzigt said.
The NSC leader also said during the debate that he would virtually abolish the 30% tax break which a minority of foreign workers in the Netherlands benefit from. “The expats run the [housing] market in Amsterdam,” he said.
“They get 30% [of their income] tax free. This means they have more money available and can pay more,” he said. “I will almost abolish it.”
A Leiden student also asked the party leaders about their approach to nuclear power. Frans Timmermans told the audience he had nothing against nuclear power. “I’m just not sure it is right for the Netherlands,” he said. And by the time nuclear power stations are built, “we will have nuclear fusion”, he said.
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