Difficulties for the Dutch Cabinet Rutte II due to selfishness and myopicness

In November 2012, the Dutch right-wing Liberals (VVD) and the Dutch Labour party (PvdA), managed to form a coalition after only 55 days of negotiations. General elections were held after the Rutte I cabinet collapsed in the March 2012, after Geert Wilder’s Freedom party (PVV) decided to take a hike, because he didn’t agree with all that was going on.

The Rutte II cabinet was a small miracle in my eyes, and gave me the hope that two large Dutch parties, quite far from one another on the political spectrum, decided to give it a shot together, with the very noble goal of trying to get the Netherlands through the economic crisis. Great, right?

Well, then the problems start. A week after the VVD and PvdA managed to compile a coalition agreement — its motto is ‘building bridges’, major opposition from within and outside of the cabinet arose. The reason main was the income-dependent healthcare fee — implying that the richer part of the population would pay proportionally more than less well-off fellow citizens. All of this to try and get the government deficits down. Due to pressure from within the VVD, the cabinet had to cancel this income-dependent premium. This small joke cost the VVD to lose just under half of its vote in opinion polls in that first week.

Jointly, the VVD and PvdA would receive a pathetic 24 and 19 seats respectively, if the Netherlands were to have elections now. That is 32 seats less they would need to have a majority in Parliament (43 of 150)…

This coalition is the most sincere and unselfish I can imagine. The harsh criticism, especially from the VVD constituency is that Mark Rutte (party leader and current prime minister of the Netherlands) does not represent the interests of the party.

Episodes like this, are depressing. It shows that successful democratic countries like the Netherlands, have large amounts of people which seem to be both utterly selfish and myopic…

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