Monday 17 May 2021

Election watch: integration, postal votes and donations in today’s round up

Photo: DutchNews.nl

The Netherlands goes to the polls to elect 150 MPs for the lower house of parliament next week. Here’s a round up of the campaign news from March 12.

Baudet apology

Broadcaster RTL and the editors of television talk show Jinek have apologized to far -right politician Thierry Baudet about the way he was ‘roasted’ on the programme on Thursday evening.

Baudet walked out on the show after comedian Martijn Koning talked about Baudet’s ‘Jewish girlfriend’, referred to anti-Semitism within the party, and brought up Baudet’s Indonesian roots.

RTL said in the statement that the comic had refused repeatedly to show the editors the text and that should have been reason to remove him from the line up. Koning told the AD in a reaction to the row that he had expected trouble. ‘My aim was to hit Baudet hard and I did,’ he told the paper.

CDA on integration

CDA campaign leader Wopke Hoekstra has defended his party’s commitment to expanding ‘integration policy’ to cover three generations. ‘In lots of cases, integration is going well, but there are still too many cases in which is does not go smoothly, and that leads to tensions and problems in society,’ he told website Nu.nl.

Asked if that meant someone with grandparents born abroad would still be included in government integration strategy, Hoekstra said: ‘It is about everyone being able to participate. I think we have not aimed high enough. You are happier if you speak the language, can communicate with your neighbours and can join in.’

Donations

Political parties have had a combined €13.6m in gifts since 2019, according to official home affairs ministry figures. Parties are required by law to make all donations over €4,500 public.

The SP accounted for most of the donations – a total of €6.7m, but this comes mainly from the party’s requirement that all elected officials hand over part of their income. GroenLinks elected officials also have to donate part of their salary, and the party raised €1.8m.

There were some big individual donations. Technology millionare Steven Schuurman donated €1m to D66 and €350,00 to the PvdD. The far right Forum voor Democratie was given €500,000 by CVC Capital Partners’  Maarten Ruijs and real estate investor Chris Thünnessen donated €105,000 to JA21.

Postal voting

Today is the last day that people over the age of 70 can vote by post. This year, 2.4 million people aged 70+ have been able to vote by post, so they can avoid coming into contact with potential coronavirus patients at polling stations.

If you’ve missed the last post on Friday, you can also hand in your voting papers at your local authority. So far, some 2.5% of people voting by post have not used the addressed envelope which they were sent, which means their vote is invalid.

This article will be updated throughout the day

For full coverage of the general election, check out the special website section.

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