The Dutch Government will manage the pandemic until the elections

The Dutch Government will manage the pandemic until the elections

Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte, who yesterday presented the resignation of the Dutch Government en bloc.
The Hague, Jan 16 – The Dutch Government led by Mark Rutte will be in office as of this Saturday, so it will practically only be able to manage issues related to the pandemic and the vaccination campaign, while the Netherlands prepares to go to the polls to choose a new cabinet among familiar faces.
Two months before the general elections, the resignation en bloc of the Executive of The Hague has been understood in the Netherlands as a symbolic political gesture to assume responsibility for the scandal of the illegalities committed since 2014 by the Tax Agency, which it unfoundedly accused of fraud against 26,000 families, mostly of migratory origin.
The Dutch analyst Diederik Brink emphasizes to Efe that Rutte’s permanence at the head of the cabinet “was hampered” when the leader of the Social Democrat PvdA, Lodewijk Asscher, resigned, who, between 2012 and 2017, was Rutte’s deputy prime minister and his Minister of Affairs Social, department that is in charge of the application of the Child Care Law, which approves the aid to families with children.
The parents were in a vulnerable situation, and as much as they tried to prove with documents that they had not committed fraud, the tax authorities did not unlock their aid and asked them to return large amounts of money, which led many to live with financial problems, job losses, home losses and divorces.
When the government falls as a whole, Brink adds, all the ministers lose “what is called their missionary status”, so they will be in office, and “cannot propose new policies, something that would have happened anyway in the run-up to the elections, so this is only about perceptions about who is to blame.
Four weeks before the elections, scheduled for March 17, the Cortes dissolves, and the government takes office, so his resignation has only brought that state forward by a month and has allowed Rutte to assume without great practical consequences that “things were done wrong.”
THE ELECTORAL CAMPAIGN
One of the pending issues is the possible persecution of the officials who have left all these families in a vulnerable situation, having stereotyped them as fraudsters of the Tax Agency for having dual nationality, but the Prosecutor’s Office has already tried to investigate what happened and has ruled that public officials cannot be prosecuted if they implement a policy designed by the legislator.
This led a group of parents to file a complaint with the Supreme Court against five ministers and against public officials for the Justice to determine if they have not committed criminal acts, and if they have not exceeded their functions.
Brink stresses that the blame for what happened “lies mainly with the PvdA and the VVD (the liberals) – this practice began when they were legislating in coalition – and the other parties want to distance themselves, but Rutte has been playing tough with his colleagues. In Dutch politics, the rule is that ‘whoever breaks something, pays for it, also when it comes to defeating a coalition’.
However, while Asscher resigned at the head of his party and as head of the list of the Social Democrats facing the elections, Rutte emphasized during his resignation that he has no intention nor does he see any reason that should lead him to abandon his plans to seek reelection in March, and he will remain the leader of the Liberals.
To justify his reasons, he also promised to work to renew the entire system of state aid to families – something that he could only do if he leads the future government – and assured that he will commission a government commission to investigate the role played by racism and discrimination in the scandal that led to his resignation.
He also sent a letter to parents affected by institutional discrimination in which he promises to prevent this situation from happening again in the future and in which he promises to treat their cases individually to help them with financial and psychological problems in the future. who have been involved because of what happened.
MANAGING THE PANDEMIC
While seeking solutions to a fundamental problem of the Tax Agency, the acting government of the Netherlands will have to continue working together with the Dutch Parliament to impose, with credibility, restrictions on mobility and social contact to stop the contagion of coronavirus, triggered in the country since late summer.
One of the measures on the table is the imposition of a curfew to avoid youth group meetings and family visits, but one of the coalition parties, the progressive D66, is against this restriction.
The country has been confined since December 14, and until at least February 9, with all non-essential activity closed. Schools hope to return to face-to-face classes on January 25, while the hospitality sector, closed since mid-October, tries to survive thanks to financial aid from the State.
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Ben Oakley
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