Monday 16 September 2019

Prime minister survives no confidence vote in dividend tax debate

Jess Klaver in debate with Mark Rutte. Photo: Peter Hilz / HH

The Labour party joined forces with the right wing populists PVV and FvD to support a motion of no confidence in prime minister Mark Rutte during Tuesday evening’s debate on the government’s revised tax plans.

The motion, proposed by anti-Islam campaigner Geert Wilders, did not attract as many votes in terms of numbers as previous no-confidence votes, but the support of the Labour party is a blow to the prime minister, the NRC said in its analysis.

‘The marriage between the VVD and PvdA ended at the last election but the friendship between VVD prime minister Mark Rutte and his former deputy Lodewijk Asscher is now on the rocks,’ the paper said.

Neither GroenLinks or 50Plus supported the motion of no confidence but the pro-animal PvdD and the Socialists did.

Tuesday night’s debate concentrated on the government’s decision to scrap plans to abolish the tax on dividends and re-divide the ‘savings’ to industry. During the debate, Asscher repeatedly called on Rutte to apologise for the way he had tried to scrap the tax, which would have mainly benefited foreign firms.

The fact that GroenLinks leader Jesse Klaver refused to support the motion leaves a door open for his party to play the role of ‘constructive opposition’ if the coalition loses its majority in the senate next year, the NRC pointed out.

Opinion polls predict heavy losses for the coalition in March’s vote for the 12 provincial governments.

However, that door is now closed to the Labour party, given that Asscher has ended the friendship, the NRC said.

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