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Breaking: Dutch government collapses over Verdonk

by Nomad Thu Jun 29th, 2006 at 03:14:52 PM EST

The word is out. The controversial solution Minister of Integration Rita Verdonk came up to plea herself free in her cock-up about Ayaan Hirsi Ali’s citizenship was unacceptable for D66, one of the three coalition parties which form the right-wing liberal government, led by Jan Peter Balkenende. After a day of increasing bluff poker, the two D66 ministers resigned and Balkenende decided he could not continue as head of a minority cabinet.

Balkenende II is over and out.

A better timeline is below the fold.

Man, where to start. The past 24 hours have been absolutely crazy in The Hague. In the end, it seems it was destiny that I began posting diaries on the developments surrounding Hirsi Ali, which were part of the devastating chain of events that led to the demise of Balkenende II. As reported before, it began when the Minister of Integration Rita Verdonk, already a controversial figure of the cabinet, questioned the citizenship of Hirsi Ali. A few days ago, the matter came to a disgraceful close, when it appeared that a statement by Hirsi Ali was fabricated by members of the cabinet, among others minister Verdonk, to save the minister’s own face, frontpaged here.

Femke Halsema, spokewoman of Groen Links (Green-Left) had by then requested an emergency parliamentary session, which started yesterday evening and would last until an insane 5:30 in the morning. I predicted that both VVD (the party of Verdonk) and CDA (their most faithful coalition party) would want to move on as quickly as possible – which turned out to be the case. However, it was crucial what position the third coalition party, D66, would take in the debate.

After opening statements and statements of both minister Verdonk and the prime minister Jan Peter Balkenende, the debate seemed to swerve into the terrain Sven knows best - micro analysis of irrelevant details. The turn of events of 15 and 16 May were rehashed, which led to a bizarre call for the presence of the minister of Finances, Zalm (VVD), at 01:00 in the night, to explain to the parliament in what function he was present during the meeting on 15 May with Minister Verdonk and the Chair of the Parliament.

At this point, more pressing issues had still not been discussed but parliament was fully aware that they still should, even while the night was slowly ticking away towards dawn. What role Verdonk had had in presenting Hirsi Ali a statement of contrition still needed to be discussed, as well as the juridical consequences of Verdonk’s decision to allow Hirsi Ali to retain her citizenship, whereas up to 70 equal cases of immigrants had been denied citizenship on same grounds.

Things first seemed to go well for Verdonk – she admitted she would do things differently next time regarding informing Parliament. She refused to admit any regret for failing to do her research in the first place, when this story broke. To Verdonk, re-checking quotes in a documentary and a snippet from an article out of the Guardian (read: let an employee google the internet) was thorough research which justified her earliest decision to question Hirsi Ali’s citizenship – which led to her immediate resignation. Surprisingly to me, no one cried foul, and things were heading for another botched effort to make Verdonk resign. By then it was around two o’clock in the night.

However, when discussing the questionable statement of Hirsi Ali, an unexpected slip of tongue by prime-minister Balkenende changed everything: he implied that Rita Verdonk's insistence to put together a statement of contrition was more than just a juridical procedure. Which meant what everyone had been suspecting all along: there was a deliberate political motive behind it. Namely: rescuing Verdonk’s position.

From there, the first crisis set in, but I gave up by then: it was three o’clock. Femke Halsema filed an official motion of disapproval, to demand the resignation of Verdonk. Not that that would immediately phase Verdonk – in the course of the past two years she already had had three, or four – I lost count – and survived them all.

But Balkenende's admission turned the tide within the D66, a party under continuous internal tension and whose members had repeatedly called for a tougher stance on Verdonk. This was the turning point: D66 rallied behind the motion. The motion of disapproval, however, did not gain the majority of votes – Verdonk being saved by parliament representatives of the LPF, the remnants of the Pim Fortuyn party, and the SGP, the ultra-Christian party.

But by rallying behind the motion of disapproval, D66 induced the next crisis, which was playing out in the course of this day (Thursday): a coalition crisis. Everyone took a few hours of rest, Balkenende held an impeccable speech before Dutch war veterans, and then went back into frantic collusion with members of the cabinet. Bluff poker had set in.

D66 declared that they no longer could accept Rita Verdonk as the minister of Integration in this cabinet. In turn, the resignation of Verdonk (or putting her at a different post, an option that briefly floated) was unacceptable for VVD and also the CDA.

Therefore, the cabinet seemed to head for three possible outcomes:
* Rita Verdonk would step down as a minister, and the coalition would sit it out until elections in May next year. Over the hours this became increasingly unlikely.

* If VVD would continue to stand behind their minister, the entire coalition would blow up

* D66 would step out of the coalition, and the rest of the Balkenende cabinet would continue as a minority cabinet

In the afternoon, a somewhat puzzling reaction was given by the prime-minister: the cabinet had decided unanimously that there would be no consequences to the motion of disapproval. This was surprising, as two D66 ministers are part of the cabinet – notably, minister Pechtold, who was voted party-leader this weekend. It should be noted that his largest competitor for party leadership, Lousewies van der Laan, was still leading the fight against Verdonk within parliament. Lots of double entendres here.


But this set the next move in motion. There was hardly any other way now than that D66 will withdrew support from the cabinet entirely – which is exactly what Van der Laan announced around six o’clock in the evening. Another frantic session amongst the ministers of the cabinet followed, but it spelled out the end: one hour later (I was having dinner) the resignation of the two D66 ministers was a fact, and Balkenede II had come to a close.

Tomorrow, the prime-minister will visit the Queen for his resignation, although there is a slight, slight chance CDA and VVD might want to pursue a minority cabinet after all. Personally, I don’t think that will happen – which only means there will be elections half a year earlier, I think in September or October.

Man, what a nice day. We need an epitaph for Balkenende II now. After all, he has never managed to sit out a full term as prime-minister. Didn’t JK Rowling say recently something that she may kill off Harry to prevent any unwanted sequels? Funny thing, that.

Good riddance! Now it's all to the Queen and see what she wants. Chances of a minority cabinet happening? 30% I think. If they do it, I can only see it biting them in the ass...
by Freud (freud@freudie.org) on Thu Jun 29th, 2006 at 03:33:12 PM EST
Sad how the Christian Democrats (CDA) and the EuroLiberals (VVD) were almost desperate to continue with a minority coalition. They figure that, now that the economy is doing a little better and they're rising in the polls, holding on to power for a little longer and giving away some money was going to get them more votes next year.

Sheesh. Anything to get votes. It's time for elections. My predictions for that: a left majority won't happen (and it's sadly unlikely to ever happen). CDA+VVD together probably will just be short of a majority. And since D66 just blew up the current coalition, they probably won't feel too eager to join them once more after the election. And the LPF won't be a factor anymore.

Which means that there's no way around the PvdA (Labour Party). Most likely, they'll form a coalition with the CDA (although VVD isn't entirely out of the question, but much less likely). If the PvdA becomes the biggest party, they're unlikely to be screwed over again in the negotiations, like last time. If they do not become the biggest party (but the CDA will), then it'll be harder, since the PvdA might not want to be in a government with Balkenende once more as PM.

by Frank (wijsneus-aht-gmail-doht-com) on Thu Jun 29th, 2006 at 04:17:00 PM EST
Is left parties+D66 out of the question? (Or did you count D66 in the left?)

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Jun 30th, 2006 at 03:24:59 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I'd call D66 centrists.. so I didn't include them. Also, a 4-party coalition is often considered problematic. So I don't think it'll happen.
by Frank (wijsneus-aht-gmail-doht-com) on Fri Jun 30th, 2006 at 01:05:41 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Someone described them upthread as "liberal left" which presumably means "libertarian right" and puts them in league with the UK LibDems. Sure enough, they are members of the ELDR pan-European party and the ALDE Group of the European Parliament.

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Jun 30th, 2006 at 01:10:15 PM EST
[ Parent ]
No, liberal left means (European) liberal left, social liberals. Look at their name, it's a year, they originate in the spirit of those times.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Jun 30th, 2006 at 02:09:05 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Kind of hard to follow all the details...but it is important to acknowledge that this is breaking news, and REALLY appreciate your posting this, which is about (basically)...the end of the current Dutch government! Yes! Change is good (we hope)...

Interesting that it happens on the same day that the US Supreme Court says Guantanemo is illegal. Something in the stars?

"Once in awhile we get shown the light, in the strangest of places, if we look at it right" - Hunter/Garcia

by whataboutbob on Thu Jun 29th, 2006 at 04:45:14 PM EST

"Once in awhile we get shown the light, in the strangest of places, if we look at it right" - Hunter/Garcia
by whataboutbob on Thu Jun 29th, 2006 at 04:45:46 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I even cut out lots of details - both D66 and VVD just had their renewed party-leaders and this meant that the chosen VVD partyleader and scary man Mark Rutte was partyleader for exactly one day in the coalition.

And the implosion of D66 over the past years has doubtless also contributed to digging their heels in the sand this time. They needed to prove something.

Spin is already building. CDA and VVD say it's all the fault of D66, Van der Laan points the finger at Verdonk and the stubbornness of VVD to admit their minister was rotten to the core. Okay, they'd not admit that in those words. But you get my drift.

Time for a bath. Watching politics makes me feel as filthy as the last football match of the Duch team...

by Nomad on Thu Jun 29th, 2006 at 04:55:52 PM EST
[ Parent ]
but...this is cleansing...don't you think???

"Once in awhile we get shown the light, in the strangest of places, if we look at it right" - Hunter/Garcia
by whataboutbob on Thu Jun 29th, 2006 at 05:00:55 PM EST
[ Parent ]
And much good came of it.

BTW I chanced the title back into "Breaking". Has a better ring to it... :)

BTW, I didn't get around to congratulate you to for your official entry in the Swiss Masonry! Or was it something else with a secret handshake? Slipped my mind. Anyway, good for you!!

by Nomad on Thu Jun 29th, 2006 at 05:30:07 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Thank you, Nomad! Yes...maybe it is a secret Swiss masonry! (It took me some time to figure out the correct handshake, methinks...with lots of supporting paperwork!)

Please keep us updated on any developments in the coming days on this...

"Once in awhile we get shown the light, in the strangest of places, if we look at it right" - Hunter/Garcia

by whataboutbob on Fri Jun 30th, 2006 at 02:09:20 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I was just wondering when that was going to happen, and now it does. Great reporting man.

The Hun is always either at your throat or at your feet. Winston Churchill
by r------ on Thu Jun 29th, 2006 at 05:37:59 PM EST
We are free, we are free, we are free at long last! The queen finally has some real work to do, too.

Of course they couldn't force Mrs. Verdonk to resign. In that case she would have started her own party with the extreme right and have taken maybe a quarter of the VVD's (center right) votes with her. Now the VVD is her hostage.

And it is as if Miss Hirsi Ali has been a tool of destiny, has fulfilled a mission: a fateful meeting with Van Gogh, a spectacular political ascendancy to the Netherlands parliament  and now---for the most ominous turn---a job in the halls of Cheney, Libby, Perle, Feith and all the rest. Good riddance to her too and may she prosper as a far right shill, magnificently, in the U.S.A.

We are free!

by Quentin on Thu Jun 29th, 2006 at 05:39:19 PM EST
In many, many ways. Funny thing, life. Might makes you wonder what will happen with her in the USA... I can understand your feelings about her, although I still find Ayaan a person worthy to keep track of in the States.

Now the VVD is her hostage.

Spot on. Last year, there was a start by a diarist to describe the Dutch political landscape - I don't know whether the poster is still around. The series was never finished, sadly; it was of excellent quality. But within a year, half of that landscape has changed. With elections in the air, it might be worthwhile to give a new overview.

by Nomad on Thu Jun 29th, 2006 at 05:53:08 PM EST
[ Parent ]
With elections in the air, it might be worthwhile to give a new overview.

Please do. This allochtoon would appreciate it.

You have a normal feeling for a moment, then it passes. --More--
by tzt (tzt) on Thu Jun 29th, 2006 at 06:16:40 PM EST
[ Parent ]
There is a lot of insight there.

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Jun 29th, 2006 at 05:53:16 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I just really do not get how a government can go down for a such a "spanish-silly" thing.

In any spanish government of coalition, the dispute is solved....in catalonia the government only fell after one party voted agaisnt the most important law for decades and the most improtant law of the legislation.

It is hard to understand how the situation of a single person can become so big.

I just guess it is different political culture. So I would like to know if these moves surprised you. If they surprise you , it is Ok...but if you somehow expected that it could happen.. then oh may...I just can not imagine something similar happening here and we live in different worlds.

A pleasure

I therefore claim to show, not how men think in myths, but how myths operate in men's minds without their being aware of the fact. Levi-Strauss, Claude

by kcurie on Thu Jun 29th, 2006 at 06:48:21 PM EST
I think the party that made this all happen (D66), was looking for an issue to do what they did. Keep in mind though, that the cabinet didn't fell (at least, that's what D66 tells us) because of the passport affair per se. The cabinet fell, because the secretary (or minister?) (Verdonk) made Hirshi Ali sign a letter that said that Hirshi Ali was to blame for it all, thus making sure Verdonk wasn't to be pointed at.

Everyone suspected this, but neither the Prime Minister, nor Verdonk said this was the truth. However, one of the final questions in the debate made the Prime Minister slip, and basically he said that indeed, that letter was needed to make sure Verdonk could not be blamed. And that did it for D66. Basically, Verdonk told Hirshi Ali: If you want your passport, you sign this letter.

That's what did this in the end.

by Freud (freud@freudie.org) on Fri Jun 30th, 2006 at 02:33:50 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Could you or Nomad quote a transscript of Balkenende's slip-of-tongue and translate it?

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Jun 30th, 2006 at 03:14:55 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Ok, to add a bit of background. The letter that Hirshi Ali had to sign consisted of two parts. The first part said that Hirshi Ali used the name Ali, because that is allowed according to the laws of Somalia. Her fathers name is Magan, her grandfathers Ali, and according to Somali law, she could use both Magan and Ali. (Dutch law would say you can only use your fathers name).

The second part of the letter basically said that it was because of the things she said and done, that Verdonk took away her passport, and that Hirshi Ali was to blame.

Then came a question from the VVD, which asked the prime minister if the letter could have been done without the second part, to which the prime minister replied:

Het had eventueel ook zonder die zin gekund, maar de minister moest ook met de verklaring kunnen leven

which translated to:

It could have been done without that sentence, but the secretary (minister) had to be able to live with the declaration as well

(I hope that it translates into English like that...)

by Freud (freud@freudie.org) on Fri Jun 30th, 2006 at 04:39:36 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Does this law about using your father's name apply to everybody or only to immigrants? I've never heard of such a rule before...
by asdf on Sat Jul 1st, 2006 at 12:09:31 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Okay. I don't want to sound denigratory, but the mini-rant below may sound like that. It's not aimed at you personally, but more at the now increasingly inhumane Dutch immigration policy.

The short answer: in the Netherlands, people can "choose" their last name after their 12th(?), either from the mother or the father. And you're stuck with it, unless you pay whole loads of cash to have it changed/altered. But for immigrants I don't think we even should think like that.

The increasing use of computers with the inbuilt folders, increasingly worsens the whole idea of tagging people into sub groups which then can be neatly filed away, or so I feel. It's administration creep. This increasingly makes cases that do not comply with the in-built filing world (and the then so wired thinking process of administrators) become ipso facto illegitimate. There should not be cases out of the box. If you happen to be out of the box, you can't possibly belong in the box. And we certainly can't create a separate box for you.

Yet there is no effective method to numberise and catalogue the hundreds of diverse cultural aspects that make so many immigrants unique in their own background.

Because we in our western world, where Napoleon introduced us to a certain standard of name bureacracy, to me it seems superbly intolerant (even imperial) to apply that as the standard to Everyone Else... The criteria should be: can we identify that person's history using the information s/he gives us. What now happens is that personal tragedies get rejected asylum based on a mistake in filling out the form. While everyone here start muttering about the coming of the retiring baby boom generation, we reject young and eager people who want to work here and who would relieve the younger generation of the burden of the social security. It's ridiculous.

Personally, Verdonk should've been nailed by the sole fact that she whipped up the Somalian right as the flimsiest possible excuse to allow Hirsi Ali her citizenship. She wasn't though - to the relief of other immigrants. The highest court already announced this gives more legal space for other previously rejected immigrant cases. Yeah to them.

by Nomad on Sat Jul 1st, 2006 at 05:00:28 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Having two surnames (as any Iberoamerican will) but having lived in Anglosaxonia for 6 years, I can totally empathise with people whose naming conventions don't fall "inside the box". The UK is much, much worse than the US about this (not because Americans 'get' multiple surnames more easily, but because they are somewhat more relaxed about bureaucracy, which in the UK is pervasive).

Nothing is 'mere'. — Richard P. Feynman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Jul 1st, 2006 at 05:08:49 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Frankly this whole thing about names is so far below the American social radar that it never even occurred to me that it was an issue. There's no legal restriction on changing your name here, and it doesn't cost much other than bureaucratic paperwork. If you don't like your name, you can change it--but hardly anybody bothers...
by asdf on Sat Jul 1st, 2006 at 05:40:39 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Oh, I like my name. I just can't get English-speaking bureaucrats (and I include people in the private sector, such as bank clerks, in that category) to accept the fact that 1) I don't have a middle name; 2) I have two family names; 3) there is no hyphen.

It's not social radar, it's whether the forms they give you to fill will actually accept your name unaltered.

Nothing is 'mere'. — Richard P. Feynman

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Jul 1st, 2006 at 07:57:52 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Note to kcurie: D66 is supposed to be a left-liberal party, thus it is in an unnatural coalition, especially given VVD's xenophobic policies. Being in the coalition alienated a lot of their votes (I think ET covered this at the time of municipal elections).

Another query towards our Dutch contingent: could you suggest a good internet site with Dutch polls (and add it in the Archives/Politics by Country section, like you'll find there for example for France?), or at least quote a recent poll result? I'm curious how close to the limit D66 stood.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Fri Jun 30th, 2006 at 03:19:03 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Barometer. There are more, but I generally don't bother much about polling. Let the chips fall where they may.

Last poll, first number is current seats, last number is projected seats if elections were held today:
CDA: 44/38
VVD: 28/31
SP: 9/17 (!!)
LPF: 8/0 (Hah!)
GroenLinks: 8/11
D66: 6/3
Christian Union: 3/4
SGP: 2/2
Wilders: 0/2

No immediate bump for PvdA. Note that they've recently drawn flack because of proposals to tinker with the Dutch social security, one of the big elephants in the room, to the displeasure of many elderly. But the CBS (the organisation who does the number crunching) showed recently that the PvdA scheme gives the most profitable result compared to other propositions of CDA and VVD.

by Nomad on Fri Jun 30th, 2006 at 07:28:22 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Yawn, if that would be the result, what an ugly stalemate... right parties with 69 seats, left parties 70, D66 would only make the left 73 seats, the two far-right parties would get only to 75 (50% but 50%+1 needed)... What is SGP?

Now I see why a Grand Coalition would be needed. (BTW, I haven't forgotten that Dutch Christian Democrats used to be fairly liberal/social, just had the impression they moved too far to the right under Balkenende.)

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Fri Jun 30th, 2006 at 11:01:31 AM EST
[ Parent ]

SGP = Political Reformed Party.

Up until a week ago, they didn't allow women as full members. Because a court decided this was discriminating, leading to the withdrawal of monetary support, the SGP conference this weekend decided (with only 73 percent!) to allow women to vote during meetings - but they still do not allow women to have active political roles, such as a parliamentary representative......

You possibly couldn't get them more conservative. (Or backward, some would say.)

by Nomad on Fri Jun 30th, 2006 at 11:23:54 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Heavens, you have two bunches of these idiots?...

Heh, so the right could get a majority if coalitioning with the far-right... but I guess the Christian fundie parties aren't up for such a cooperation.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Fri Jun 30th, 2006 at 12:04:06 PM EST
[ Parent ]
And you haven't driven this crowd into the sea? The Dutch  truly are a  tolerant people.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Fri Jun 30th, 2006 at 12:05:59 PM EST
[ Parent ]
We let them inbreed at a slow pace instead. One day, those people won't possess the necessary IQ to be eligible. Although the Christian Union is still able to draw in younger religious folks, SGP is largely propped up by a generation that's slowly dying off.
by Nomad on Fri Jun 30th, 2006 at 12:42:51 PM EST
[ Parent ]
This is also good news for the VVD though (the right wing party). Someone from local politics (Pastors), who seems to have some following, was going to create a new right wing party. This would take voters away from the VVD. Now that there are, probably, going to be new elections at least this year, he might not have enough time to pull it through.

I am not so sure I like that though, I prefer a splintered right. The left has been splintered for too long already!

by Freud (freud@freudie.org) on Fri Jun 30th, 2006 at 02:37:32 AM EST
Your opinion on what it would take to "un-splinter" the Left?

"Once in awhile we get shown the light, in the strangest of places, if we look at it right" - Hunter/Garcia
by whataboutbob on Fri Jun 30th, 2006 at 03:27:24 AM EST
[ Parent ]
In the Netherlands there is absolutely no possibility of ever 'un-splintering' (uniting, I assume you mean) the left, never ever. I would say that D66 pulled this rabbit out of the hat---and it is a rabbit because it's not exactly clear why the party got on it high horse about this row---to regain credibility with the voters. When Netherlands troops were sent to Afghanistan they were against the plan but didn't have the courage of their convictions and leave the government, which would have led to the result we see now. The public found D66's maneuvering on the issue very 'unprincipled', as they say, and their support plummeted. D66, the proverbial comeback kid, may now finally be really at the end of its rope. The VVD is the loser in all of this, Mrs. Verdonk the winner. And almost everyone seems to find the Prime Minister ridiculous, which has been the general opinion almost as soon as he turned up some years ago. For the coalition parties of this romp government to triumph in the elections they'll have to get 'Diebold' to repair the electronic voting machines. Paging Mr. Bush anyone?
by Quentin on Fri Jun 30th, 2006 at 04:18:32 AM EST
[ Parent ]
That won't ever happen anymore I am afraid. The PvdA (social dems), SP (socialist party) and Groen Links (the Greens) have diverted too much it seems to ever come back together. They never were one party though. As in, the PvdA has always been there (Labour basically), the Greens come from the radical left (pacifists, communists, etc. etc.), and the SP comes from Maoists, communists, marxists, etc.

So they all have different backgrounds, and are, on some issues, far apart. You could say the PvdA are the more left-centrists, whereas the SP and Groen Links are the left-ultraleft.

by Freud (freud@freudie.org) on Fri Jun 30th, 2006 at 04:21:29 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Given you have proportional elections, and AFAIK all splinters are above 5%, does splintering matter that much?

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Jun 30th, 2006 at 04:00:02 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It matters, because it means it's fractioned. The PvdA (social dems) would be a lot stronger if they had the seats of the SP (socialist party) with them.

The problem with the left is that they fight amongst themselves. The right, so far, has not had that problem. So when it splinters, into, say, a party that has 7 seats and one that has 23, that's much better for the left.

I would like to see the SP and the Greens to become a tad smaller and that those seats go to the PvdA, but that's probably because I am one of them. I am sure the SP people say the opposite :D

by Freud (freud@freudie.org) on Fri Jun 30th, 2006 at 04:17:22 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Ah :-)

Myself, I consider a centre-left party that'd rather coalition with a centre-right one than those to the left of it, even if squabbling, suspect.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Fri Jun 30th, 2006 at 05:28:47 AM EST
[ Parent ]
...it's almost impossible to build a coalition without dealing with the centre, or centre-right parties. Those parties left of the PvdA were never large enough during my life to form a coalition. The christian parties that merged into CDA, or the CDA when it still had a social face, were the ideal candidate: best overlap.

As you know, coalition building and compromising between parties has been the standard in Dutch politics. It's the "polder-model".

by Nomad on Fri Jun 30th, 2006 at 07:08:22 AM EST
[ Parent ]
You could say somewhere that the picture is of Van der Laan...

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Jun 30th, 2006 at 03:30:51 AM EST
Done. (Also did some language and broken link cleanup an hour ago.)

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Jun 30th, 2006 at 04:01:27 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I noticed yesterday the picture wasn't showing, and this was all written in a terrific spur of the moment - less than 50 minutes. I couldn't be bothered anymore... Thanks for the clean-up: as they say in Dutch, for putting the point above the i.
by Nomad on Fri Jun 30th, 2006 at 07:02:32 AM EST
[ Parent ]
For some reason, you have/had 'nifty' quote marks -- e.g. not ' and ", but ´and ˝. Links don't work that way.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Jun 30th, 2006 at 10:58:08 AM EST
[ Parent ]

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