Geert Wilders’ political party, the PVV (Party for Freedom) won substantial gains in last month’s elections in the Netherlands, in particular drawing support away from the Christian Democrats (CDA). If the Netherlands were a normal parliamentary democracy, post-election negotiations would have led to the inclusion of the PVV in a new government, and cabinet seats for members of the party.
But the Netherlands is not a normal parliamentary democracy, not when faced with the possibility that an “Islamophobe” like Mr. Wilders might be a member of the cabinet. If there is one thing that unites all the other Dutch political parties, it is an absolute determination that the PVV must not be included in any governing coalition. To ensure this outcome, any other configuration of parties is acceptable — what would it matter if the “conservative” VVD were to join forces with the Communists, so long as Geert Wilders would thereby be kept from gaining any seat in the government?
To create a cordon sanitaire against the PVV, the elite oligarchy that wields the real power in the Netherlands — the Queen and the three major parties — has resorted to some blatant extra-constitutional shenanigans during the procedure leading up to the formation of the new government. Our Flemish correspondent VH has compiled a report about the recent sausage-making process in the Hague, and includes this brief introduction to help non-Dutch readers find their way through the maze of political maneuvering:
The left wing within the CDA [Christian Democrats] — among them the former Waffen-SS volunteer Willem Aantjes, the anti-Semite former Prime Minister Andries van Agt and the anti-Wilders campaigner Doekle Terpstra — refuses to even talk with the PVV to research possibilities for forming a VVD-PVV-CDA cabinet. Thus the information round instantly moved to “Plan B”: a cabinet with the VVD [center-right] and three left-wing parties, the PvdA [Labour Party, Socialists], D66 [center-left, pro-EU bureaucracy and anti-Wilders party] and GreenLeft [Communists, extreme left-wing environmentalists].
The Queen appointed one informateur instead of the advised two. She appointed a left-wing confidant, Tjeenk Willink — some call him her lackey — to “research” this option. In his final report he advised the formation of a “Purple-plus” cabinet on a number of financial agreements only [thus he might as well have researched a VVD-PVV minority cabinet], and leaving most of the subjects to parliament. However, in an annex to his information report to the Queen, he actually recommends overruling a majority in Parliament with respect to issues brought up by he PVV.
In the meantime, the PVV is by far the largest party in the polls [graph], while the VVD and CDA are slipping away. Many VVD and CDA voters are fed up with this treason and cross over to the PVV.
Next spring there will be elections for the provinces, thereby indirectly appointing the First Chamber (Higher House) of parliament. If the PVV becomes the largest party there, it may cause major trouble for a “Purple-plus” government. Anyway: the recent moves by the Dutch Queen have caused quite a bit of outrage, including among the non-PVV electorate.
Therefore I personally think the (treasonous) VVD will back down and try researching the possibilities for “Plan C”: a VVD-CDA-PvdA cabinet. At the moment it is not likely they will decide for new elections, for that might result in the PVV becoming the largest party, and since the “old politics” — including the Queen — desperately want to keep up the status quo ante, they must try other (even undemocratic) options, such as advised to the Queen by the informateur Tjeenk Willink.
Below are VH’s translations, for which we owe him a debt of gratitude:
1. From De Volkskrant, June 29:
by Samuel van den Berg
Queen Beatrix has made for a surprise in The Hague [Dutch seat of government].
With the appointment of Herman Tjeenk Willink as informateur, the Queen has made a surprising choice. During the press conference, Tjeenk Willink explained that the Queen wanted to avoid having to make a political choice. In hindsight, it is rather questionable whether she succeeded in this, for quite the opposite happened.
The arguments of the Queen go wrong on at least two aspects. First, she argues that mister Tjeenk Willink is “impartial” and therefore the best candidate. Second, she deliberately chose one informateur only, instead of two [as advised by the first informateur, Uri Rosenthal (VVD)]. Both points need explanation.
Tjeenk Willink in his press conference stressed his supposed ‘impartiality’. For a long time, however, Tjeenk Willink has been a member of the PvdA [Labour Party, Socialists] and member of the Queen’s advisory board, the Council of State. He also in the past was the informateur of the Kok-I Cabinet in 1994 [PvdA (red), VVD (blue), D66 (green); also called the “Purple Cabinet”]. Finally, he mended the fallen “Purple-II” cabinet in 1999. Those who still claim that Tjeenk Willink is impartial spin fantasies. Being biased is not a disgrace for an informateur, but in this case, there is a repeated attempt to deny any bias. Which is surprising.
Tjeenk Willink is a confidant of the Queen and knows exactly what Her Majesty wants. Because he has to operate on his own, there is a grave danger that he will assign a great role to the personal preference of the Queen Beatrix. Her Majesty subsequently will accept the ‘impartial’ advice and still make the political decision she wanted to avoid.
To prevent such problems, the first informateur, Uri Rosenthal, and several fraction leaders, advised the appointment of two partisan informants, one of VVD background and one of PvdA background. The advantages are clear. Those two informants would monitor each other and thus ensure that the process will result in fair and balanced advice.
Second, the political responsibility for a new cabinet would have been with the informants and the fraction leaders. Now the Queen loads that responsibility onto herself, by ignoring Rosenthal’s advice and pushing forward her confidant, a Labour Party heavyweight [Tjeenk Willink].
Queen Beatrix has made for a surprise in The Hague. But whoever takes a closer look will see that the reasoning behind her choice does not appear to be quite pure. And what reason would that be?
The monarch as an absolute regent
by Prof. Dr. G.B.J. Van Frikschoten
The departing informateur Tjeenk Willink (PvdA member and principal advisor to the queen) provided an annex [pdf] to his final report to the Queen. This actually appears to be pressing advice in which is stated how the country should be governed. The so-called independent informateur (he was the first to underline this “independence” at his appointment) unfolds in great detail in his piece, where power actually resides within the country — and that’s not with the voter, in case you still maintain than illusion.
In the piece, Willink praises the European utopia as the solution to the financial crisis:
“The Netherlands therefore must commit itself in the EU to an effective alignment of financial economic policy. But then the Netherlands must provide clarity itself about its own financial-economic policy and vision on further development of the European Union [i.e. Turkey’s accession to the EU], the Dutch contribution and thereby the Dutch interests. This forces the forming of a widely supported stable Cabinet in the shortest possible time.”
Then an argument follows on what the immigration policy should be and how we should think about the Islam:
“The government approaches the citizens and residents of our country without discrimination as to race, religion, belief, political opinion, sex or on any grounds whatsoever. This applies to the admission and expulsion of aliens, to the integration and naturalization of residents, and to the judiciary. Religious freedom consists of the equal treatment by the government of all religions and beliefs.”
That the PVV is to realize well. Despite the broad approval within society for the Party for Freedom to finally take on these issues. For it finally did result in 24 seats [out of 150 in Parliament] for the PVV and also many PVVers [strategically] voting for the VVD. Now the latter can see how with the their votes a Purple-plus government [VVD + three left wing parties] is being contrived and orchestrated by the monarchy, by appointing the Vice-President of the Council of State and the right hand of the Head of State: The Queen.
To close ranks against unwanted parties and viewpoints, Tjeenk Willink proposed the following:
“Agreements on the requirements the ministers, both individually and collectively, must include being of financial and economic literacy. Thereby it should be realized that if more room is given to the Parliament, experienced MPs will be more than ever needed in Parliament itself. Even if only to push back officials, interest groups, and consultants.”
And policies for everything! When unwelcome proposals of the PVV receive a majority in Parliament, it is the duty [according to Tjeenk Willink and thus the Queen] that such
“…shall be put aside when the principles of the constitutional democracy, the international position of the Netherlands, or the financial principles of the policy are at stake.”
And to top all this off, we will ensure that you will not get to know too much, because that will only lead to unrest:
“A common (mutual) code of conduct for contacts with the media.”
VVD fraction leader Rutte will have some leftovers thrown a him in Purple-plus, but otherwise is harmless and Wilders is still safely kept away behind a cordon sanitaire. And so it pleased Her Majesty. Independent, untouchable and above the parties. The monarch as an absolute regent.
3. From Artikel 7, July 6:
The mask came off
Dutch Queen Beatrix proposes a constitutional coup d’état
Twenty years ago I jokingly said to friends that democracy in my view would not last another hundred years. Ten years ago I had reduced that time to fifty years, but I still assumed it would last out my days.
I was wrong.
This past weekend the informateur Tjeenk Willink issued an Annex [pdf] to his final report to the head of state [the Queen] on his information round for a Purple-plus Cabinet [the center right VVD with three left wing parties], which calls for a constitutional coup. Currently the Purple-plus parties would have a meeting in the Parliament building on this proposal, which incorporates a rigid curtailment of democracy in the Netherlands.
By providing this proposal as a basis to the negotiating parties, the head of state [the Queen] has knowingly thrown overboard the last illusion of political neutrality. Only one conclusion is possible: if this continues, or if the parties are going to extensively negotiate on this, it means a de facto constitutional coup. The main proposal in this Annex is that Tjeenk Willink [the informateur] proposes that the parties to put aside [majority-]decisions of parliament, on a number of areas, and not carry them out. This strikes at the roots of parliamentary democracy.
If this will not go through, Queen Beatrix is to resign. She then has permanently disqualified herself as head of state of our country. (Also if it does go through, but one will then presumably rewrite history [to cover it up — translator].)
4. From Artikel 7, July 6:
Geert Wilders in a frontal attack on [informateur] Tjeenk Willink
by Claude DeWit
The former informateur Herman Tjeenk Willink should be sacked as vice-president of the Council of State, and above all never again be appointed as an informateur. That is the opinion of PVV leader Geert Wilders.
In questions in Parliament to the outgoing Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende (CDA, Christian Democrats), Wilders expressed his indignation at the actions of Tjeenk Willink as informateur. Tjeenk Willink Monday passed on his task as informateur to Jacques Wallage (PvdA) and Uri Rosenthal (VVD). The PvdA member [Herman Tjeenk Willink] has, according to Wilders, with his statements and conclusions shown himself “not to be impartial, but Europhile and anti-democratic”. For instance, Tjeenk Willink stated that the government should reject an order by a majority in Parliament “when the international position of the Netherlands is at stake.”
The PVV leader is angry because his party is excluded from the coalition-formation. Tjeenk Willink said in his final report to Queen Beatrix that a “Purple-plus” cabinet [the center right VVD with three left wing parties],will most likely succeed and match in the best way the election results. On Twitter, Wilders called the former informateur “a little leftist Europhile anti-PVV man. An unworthy informateur.”
In his parliamentary questions to Balkenende, he also asked the outgoing Prime Minister to prepare a constitutional amendment designed to ensure that the Queen no longer is part of the government.