Is 'something seriously wrong with Dutch politics?' The papers on Forum's win

The victory by the nationalist Forum voor Democratie in the provincial elections earlier this week has generated a flurry of speculation in the Dutch press about what will happen next. Here's a round-up of the main points. Trouw writes that Baudet’s win is a signal ‘something is seriously wrong with Dutch politics’. The common ground between leaders such as Baudet and PVV leader Geert Wilders is, the paper says, ‘ a faked aversion to the political handiwork which is unavoidably necessary in the Netherlands’. The answer to this, Trouw says, will have to come from ‘what is still the political establishment’. Trouw says negotiating in the time-honoured Dutch way is not Baudet’s style, and will not work. The left will have to band together ‘to save a political system that is beneficial in principle,' the paper writes. Climate In its analysis, the  Volkskrant says that the ruling right wing VVD and CDA will now be wary about finalising the climate agreement with GroenLinks and Labour in April, given Baudet's anti-climate plan rhetoric. Saving Rutte’s climate agenda ‘would seem to be a guarantee for a new victory for Forum voor Democratie’, the paper says. The European elections take place in May. The NRC expects ‘complicated formation talks in the provincial capitals’. This will be made worse because of ‘the spectacular entry of Forum voor Democratie which, with no knowledge of provincial programmes and no experienced politicians, will have to be part of the negotiations. It will soon become clear if Forum is willing and able to make a contribution to government, apart from spouting fact-free opinions,’ the paper says. Partners Telegraaf editor Paul Jansen warns that the current ruling coalition will ‘isolate’ Forum senators at its peril now that potential partners can be found in both the PvdA and GroenLinks. Although Jansen expects that partners will vary according to the issue being debated in the senate at the time, ‘It would be a dangerous game to isolate and marginalise Forum’ because it will ‘only increase people’s dissatisfaction with issues such as climate and the Marrakesh accord.’ Elsevier’s Arendo Joustra says that after such ‘punishment’ the government has only one option: step down. Joustra also puts the coalition’s loss and Forum’s gain firmly at the door of the climate agreement which has, Joustra says, ‘given birth to Baudet’. ‘Many down to earth Dutch people don’t want anything to do with the fervent and expensive climate measures contemplated by the coalition,’ he writes. English language analysis Not an explosion but a very loud noise Thierry Baudet's meteoric rise explained The new face of populism in the Netherlands  More >

Dutch Donald Duck to include gay couple

The Dutch edition of the Donald Duck comic books is including a lesbian couple for the first time after a 10-year-old girl challenged its lack of LGBT characters. Fenna, who has two fathers and two mothers, raised the issue on the children's news show Jeugdjournaal last week. 'There are no gays or lesbians in Donald Duck. I've checked them all,' she said. 'My parents are gay and lesbian and I think it's important that that's just as normal. But in Duck City it's as if they don't exist at all.' Fenna added that she wasn't asking for any of the main characters to change their sexuality. 'Just the characters in the background. You see lots of couples, a few of those extras could be gay.' Joan Lommers, editor of the magazine, showed NOS a panel in a forthcoming edition that was being altered to turn a couple sitting at a restaurant table into two women, embellished with love hearts. 'It's not in the minds of the illustrators.' 'That's a bit ridiculous, really,' replied Fenna.  More >

More new car and hybrids stolen last year

Fewer family cars were stolen in the Netherlands last year, but new cars were much more likely to be taken, according to new figures from vehicle crime monitoring body LIV. Last year, 7,261 cars were stolen, compared with 8,257 in 2017. This may be a drop of 12% in overall thefts, but the number of cars less than a year old being stolen soared by one third. Hybrids were also more likely to be taken. A total of 360 were stolen last year, double the 2017 total. The hybrid Toyota RAV4 and C-HR were the most popular types to be nicked. Almost 41% of stolen cars were recovered.   More >

Six more men arrested for Sinterklaas riot

Six more people have been arrested for public order offences in Eindhoven, following the physical and verbal attacks on a small group of anti-Zwarte Piet demonstrators during the Sinterklaas procession in Eindhoven last month. A number of people, including PSV football supporters, threw eggs and beer cans at the demonstrators, and hurled both racist and sexist abuse at them. Six people were arrested on the day itself but police have now picked up six more on the basis of surveillance camera footage. All are men from Eindhoven aged between 21 and 22. The public prosecution department has not ruled out making further arrests. Tijdens de intocht in Eindhoven werd Kick Out Zwarte Piet begroet met racistische spreekkoren, bekogeld met eieren en geïntimideerd. #kozp — VICE NL (@vicenl) November 18, 2018   More >

Policeman's son was at cafe shooting

Police badge and radio. The 18-year-old youth who died after being dumped outside a Zoetermeer hospital with gun shot wounds was shot by police, investigators confirmed on Friday. The teenager, named by Dutch media as Wessel, is now known to be the son of a police officer and appears to have been involved in a shooting incident at a cannabis cafe in Delft earlier on October 8, the public prosecution department said. The shooting happened when a police officer saw two young men on a moped pull up outside The Game cannabis cafe. One got off and pointed what looked like a weapon at the cafe, at which point the police officer intervened and opened fire. The two suspects got away but 45 minutes later, one youth, named as Wessel, was left outside the Lange Land hospital with serious injuries. He later died. Telephone information, surveillance camera images and eye witnesses put the youth firmly in front of The Game cannabis cafe, the investigators found. Delft has been hit by a string of violent incidents this year. In June, three people were arrested in connection with a series of shootings and a grenade attack in which a coffee shop, tanning studio, jewellery store and clothes shop came under fire. Police believe the incidents, which all took place in the early morning, may be linked to a gangland turf war.  More >

Green light for more gas extraction

Economic affairs minister Eric Wiebes has given gas company NAM the green light to extract gas from 14 different locations in Groningen, Friesland and Drenthe up to 2027, local media have reported. Wiebes has approved the increase because extraction is being wound down elsewhere in Groningen in an effort to head off the threat of earthquakes.  Quakes following years of gas extraction have damaged thousands of homes in the region. NAM said it expects to mine between 1.3 and 2.5 billion cubic metres of gas, most of which will come from the Eleveld and Vries-Zuid fields. The plans are up for consultation until the end of the year, broadcaster RTV Drenthe said. The minister has imposed a number of new conditions on NAM in an effort to head off protests. The company has to outline what measures it intends to take if there are earthquakes in the drilling zones and has been told to reproduce a number of houses so proper comparisons can be made. NAM has also been ordered to consult with water boards and railway company ProRail about any damage to waterways and railway tunnels. Nevertheless, local campaign group Stop Gaswinning Marsdijk Nu says it will take the issue to the Council of State. 'As long as the decision is not final, I will not give up,' campaign leader Gerrit Eerland said. In preparation for the drilling, nearly every house in the village of Meedhuizen near Delfzijl in Groningen may have to be reinforced, RTV Noord reported.  More >