Dutch government falls: SP leader Agnes Kant gives party's initial reaction

20 February 2010

Dutch government falls: SP leader Agnes Kant gives party's initial reaction

“Elections must be held as soon as possible. The electorate will then have the chance to determine where the blame for this crisis should be laid. The choice is between the humane and the social on the one hand and the neoliberal and antisocial on the other.”

Agnes Kant

This was SP leader Agnes Kant's immediate reaction to the news that the government had fallen in the wake of the crisis brought on by the report of the Davids Commission into the Netherlands' political support for the United States' and United Kingdom's invasion of Iraq in 2003. The conclusion of the report was that the government of the day had knowingly supported an illegal war. That government, like the current cabinet, was led by CDA (Christian Democrat) Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende, but did not include the CDA's current coalition partners the PvdA (Labour Party). Unsurprisingly, the two parties were therefore irreconcilably divided over their reaction to the Davids Report. This week, however, new divisions have arisen, with Labour leader Wouter Bos insisting that, in line with earlier agreements and Labour election promises, the Dutch military presence in Afghanistan be terminated. The Prime Minister, on the contrary, has said that he wants to 'keep all options open'. In the end, the differences proved too great to allow the two parties to continue governing together.

In Agnes Kant's view the fall of the cabinet was inevitable. “As a result of a mistrust which has been building up for a very long time the government was no longer governing – what was governing were constant quarrels, and for that reason the cabinet has lost its credibility.”

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