On Tuesday the 1st of September, the Machiavelli Foundation organised the annual start of the parliamentary year. Parliamentary leaders Pieter Heerma (CDA – Christian Democrats) and Lodewijk Asscher (PvdA – Labour) discussed the upcoming political year. The discussion was moderated by journalists Fons Lambie (RTL) and Remco Meijer (Volkskrant). Public Matters has been the main sponsor of the Machiavelli Foundation for 10 years.
The event took place in ‘Nieuwspoort’, where the political leaders discussed the necessity of a clear vision and ideology for political parties. Societal problems and challenges that existed before the corona crisis have become even more challenging . Mr. Asscher advocated for a stronger government and more security for employees. Mr. Heerma believes in a powerful society instead of a strong market: “the government became part of the problem after 30 years of neoliberalism”.
The question raised concerning the capability for a next term for Prime Minister Rutte in which political vision is very important was answered by Mr. Heerma: “Rutte from the past years is not the person who is capable for the challenges of the future”. It seems that both party leaders suggest that Mr. Rutte governs without vision and focuses too much on businesses. Mr. Asscher states that the Netherlands needs to become an ‘association’ again instead of a ‘foundation’ or a ‘listed company’.
Both politicians were not in favour of a polarised American way of debating
However, it is not undesirable to have a clear choice for society according to Mr. Asscher. Overcoming differences has to be possible. “Dutch politics is not a game where everyone will go to the same target at the same time” according to Mr. Heerma. In addition, he believes that a silent majority of Dutch society is against further polarisation.
At the end of the event, the politicians discussed the upcoming elections of March 2021. Both leaders have a positive feeling about the upcoming elections and the campaign, but did not want to discuss a prediction concerning the number of seats or a general election result. However, both leaders expressed their mutual trust and expressed political collaboration is possible in the future.
Public Matters is the main sponsor of the Machiavelli Foundation. Further information and a link towards the event can be found here.