Tuesday morning, the Machiavelli Foundation kicked off the parliamentary year with its traditional breakfast meeting in Nieuwspoort. This time with SP-leader Lilian Marijnissen (Socialist Party) and acting D66-president Rob Jetten (Liberal Democrats). In their preview of the political season, both politicians focused mainly on the here and now: the awkward formation and the willingness of political parties to take responsibility for it.
In order to achieve ambitious climate targets without increasing inequality in society, the next cabinet will have to break with its current line and adopt a more active stance, according to Jetten: “This formation shows once again that if you remain stuck in your political blockades, nothing at all will happen in this country.” A continuation of the current coalition is therefore not desirable, according to Jetten, especially when it comes to medical-ethical issues. According to Marijnissen, sustainable change requires a break with neoliberalism and Prime Minister Rutte’s management style.
After the first reflections, Jetten discussed the HJ Schoo lecture by party leader Kaag. He had not expected to see such pronounced headlines the morning after. During her speech, Kaag merely distanced herself from the current administrative culture and the political games in The Hague. The proverbial ball for the cabinet formation now lies with Rutte. Whether the next cabinet will be a majority or minority cabinet, in both cases the cabinet must gather support from the House of Representatives.
According to Marijnissen, Kaag has been too much of a spectator when the discussion about the cause of the many affairs was being held in the House of Representatives; neoliberalism and the administrative culture that stems from it are to blame for this. For the SP, ‘taking responsibility’ means actively taking a stand in that discussion, which means that governing with Rutte is not an option. According to Jetten, this puts the SP out of action and just makes it harder to change the system.
In short, to break the current deadlock in the formation, the current administrative culture must be broken: according to Marijnissen, this is possible without, and according to Jetten also with, Rutte as leader of the VVD (Conservative Liberals).
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