The new cabinet Rutte III! DutchReview Crew’s Thoughts

After seven long months and many failures, the third cabinet of Minister President Mark Rutte is ready to go. The country is divided about the outcome and what to expect – let’s ask some DutchReviewers on their views!

Bobby Salomons

Age: 33
Location: Amsterdam
Political Orientation: Centre
Voted for: D66
Predicted Outcome: Negative

What are your expectations and why do you predict this outcome?

I’m not very positive about this cabinet made up out of very right-wing oriented parties. D66 being socially left changes little about that: if D66 is your most left, the ship is about to keel over starboard side.
I did vote D66, and blackmailed my mom into voting for GroenLinks (Green Left), hoping these two parties would form a balanced midfield together with right-wing VVD and Christian CDA. When GroenLink’s Jesse Klaver left negotiations a second time, I was devastated. With Klaver I anticipated a cabinet that cared for people, that made sure those with no, low or middle income would do better. That’s just not (or barely) going to happen now.

The Rutte III coalition (76 seats).

What bugs me the most is that the Christian Union’s role in this cabinet will most likely mean complete stagnation on any real social progress. The new cabinet also has very few women and people of color – while it’s easy to say that sex or color don’t matter, the people saying it are also those complaining that women and minorities don’t participate. If you want people to participate, you’ve got to give them a spot, you’ve got to include them and make them feel like they’re part of things. I think that’s being totally overlooked.
I also find the “two Ministers per department” and three Vice-Prime Ministers a school newspaper-solution. The kids can’t work together and figure out who gets to be boss, so everybody gets to be boss. The end result is a shitty school newspaper nobody wants to read, and I think Rutte III is going to be just that.

The only positive things to me at this stage are investments in the Netherlands Military, which was completely neglected for far over a decade, and the heightened efforts regarding environmental protection and green energy. Other than that, I won’t be sad if this cabinet falls early – as long as Wilders doesn’t rise to power I’m good with just about any alternative.

Aurora Signorazzi

Age: 27
Location: Groningen
Political Orientation: Liberal left
Voted for: can’t vote, not Dutch 😛
Predicted Outcome: Meh

What are your expectations and why do you predict this outcome?

My impression is that while Wilders’ Partij voor de Vrijheid didn’t manage to pull a Trump, the newly formed government is clearly steering to the right trying to funnel its voters. Which isn’t itself a bad thing; after all, if it gained this many votes, its base should be somewhat considered. However, I find the lack of diversity in the government a worrying sign, especially considering the increase in openly xenophobic comments by right-wing politicians (read: Wilders, but also others). It is as much a matter of representation as of symbolism: the anatomy of the executive (and the announced measures) tells you that its target will be the white, middle aged, upper-middle class Dutch. A “normaal” government, with many bureaucrats and almost no international profiles. No role is allocated to ethnic minorities, and the request for a 50% female composition is ignored (although the number of women increased from 6 to 10).

Many of the disclosed economic reforms are indeed going to benefit the wealthier individuals, as well as multinational companies. Even though the latter isn’t going to be popular, however, I find it a very smart move: after the Brexit, many companies are going to seek another country as European base, and the Netherlands is clearly trying to take this role. But whether this would be beneficial to those with lower incomes is a very different question, and I’m afraid the answer is no. On some justice & civil rights reforms I see an improvement (e.g. legal weed cultivation), on some others (immigration, prostitution) there will definitely be a more conservative approach.

I’m also quite disappointed by the sudden change of agenda of some of the parties after the elections: for example, the cornerstone program of D66 was supposed to be more direct influence of the citizens, binding referendums, and all that; now, the original petitioners (GroenLinks, PvdA and D66) do not want to defend the proposal anymore. That’s not cool dude.

“A referendum? Oh yeah, that’s funny!”

Overall, after the longest government formation process in Dutch history, I’m not satisfied with the new executive. But as an Italian, I (unfortunately) have to say I’ve seen much worse.

 

Abuzer van Leeuwen

Age: 33
Location: Leiden
Political Orientation: D66, but I’ll go from right to left and back in a second
Voted for: D66, but the pirate-party was also a nice option (also, hello there left-liberal-bubble!)
Predicted Outcome: Could have been worse, definitely could have been better

For the sake of not repeating the others above, who also seem to be in the very same bubble as myself – I’ll narrow it down to 3 thoughts.

#1 The controversy surrounding this cabinet has been around a vice-premier wearing noticeable white shoes at the ‘bordes’. This says two things: we Dutchies are still a bunch of uptight people and of course; our problems here aren’t really that bad. Economy is doing great, unemployment is down and half the world is applauding our innovative policies. You and I should really complain less and start enjoying life.

#2 Halbe Zijlstra as the minister of Foreign Affairs is the dumbest choice ever and also shows the idiotic thing of Dutch politics that you don’t have to know jack shit about a particular field of expertise to become a minister in it. 

#3 Another 4 years of Angela Rutte – from a news-bringing point of view this is a big meh.

But hey, this cabinet was long enough in the making, let’s get the show on the road!

Bobby Salomons
Bobby Salomons is an Amsterdam-based published author and movie-blogger holding up too many balls to juggle at once. Suffering from Tortured Artist-syndrome he is left with no choice or hope until eventually breaking through.

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