Party watch: Pieter Omtzigt focuses on good governance

Pieter Omtzigt's election poster in The Hague. Photo: Robin Utrecht ANP

The Netherlands goes to the polls on November 22 to elect a new government. Dutch News is summarising the manifestos of all the parties likely to be big enough to make a difference in the negotiations to form a new administration that will follow.

New Sociaal Contract (NSC)
Campaign leader: Pieter Omtzigt
Seats in parliament: 1 (Omtzigt was a CDA MP but resigned in 2021)

Pieter Omtzigt had made it clear he does not want to occupy the torentje tower of power after the vote but his new party has a very good chance of being the biggest after the election. That begs the question of whether or not Omzigt will go for the top job – he is by far the most popular prime ministerial candidate in the polls.

Omtzigt made a name for himself in parliament for his work on revealing the childcare benefit scandal and other issues in which parliament and government have failed. He has therefore made good governance the central plank in his approach. Website

Main points from the manifesto

  • Target of reducing immigration to 50,000 a year including workers, students and refugees
  • If necessary, this should involve EU agreements on limiting the number of Europeans coming to the Netherlands to work
  • More Dutch at universities, significant increase in fees for non-EU students
  • A major reduction in the 30% ruling given to a small number of international workers
  • Introduction of a two-tier refugee system – one for war refugees and another for the rest
  • Introduction of a constitutional court and some form of district-based voting
  • Revision of the minimum wage
  • Build two new nuclear power stations
  • Significant reduction in nitrogen emissions by industry, transport, farming, air and shipping
  • Phasing out of mega livestock farms
  • Freeze the number of civil servants and cut back on government spokespeople
  • No expansion of abortion, euthanasia and transgender laws
  • The king should pay tax
  • No free childcare, as the current government plans
  • Tax system reform to boost low and mid incomes
  • Emphasis on permanent employment contracts, not freelancing and flexible jobs
  • Renewed focus on affordable housing, more options to sub-divide property
  • Defence budget to 2% of GDP
  • More effort to combat tax evasion by industry and venture capitalists will not be allowed to own public services such as family doctor practices
  • May 5 to become a public holiday to celebrate democracy
  • Increase in the legal prostitution age to 21

Omtzigt has not said who his preferred coalition partners but has indicated a preference for the GroenLinks/PvdA alliance on social issues and the right wing VVD on immigration. He has ruled out working with the far right PVV.

He has also been clear that his programme, which will inevitably be watered down during the coalition formation process, will take years to have a real impact. “It will take several cabinets before we have governance in order and have solved the problems, because they are systemic and deep,” he says in the manifesto introduction.

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