Kaag and Hoekstra also have something to explain, formation further sidetracked

The second round of talks between the seventeen group leaders and informateur Herman Tjeenk Willink was abruptly interrupted by an explosive turn in the benefits affair. D66 leader Sigrid Kaag and CDA leader Wopke Hoekstra, both also cabinet members, are now also associated with the now so despised closed management style, which disrupts the balance between power and counterpower.

The problems pile up in this already disastrous formation. The question of trust between VVD leader Mark Rutte and the opposition parties that led him away wanted to have because of the ‘issue-Omtzigt’is no longer central to the formation.

RTL News wrote on Wednesday, based on secret minutes of the Council of Ministers, that the cabinet deliberately opposed the House in the benefits affair. That would mean that ministers from VVD, CDA, D66 and ChristenUnie were all aware of this.

It is also alleged that an active attempt was made to lower the tune of CDA MP Pieter Omtzigt, who invariably argued fiercely and critically with the cabinet about the allowance scandal.

Hoekstra would, according to RTL News have made an attempt to “sensitize” Omtzigt (to reason, ed.), but that has not been successful.

Omtzigt has been working at home overworked for several months now. What he himself thinks of the current situation is not known.

He did acknowledge in the program last December Buitenhof that he was sometimes called by ministers after asking critical questions. “That usually ended with me submitting a long, difficult set of extra parliamentary questions the next day.” In short: he did not care.

Kaag and Hoekstra wanted to distance themselves from Rutte

Kaag and Hoekstra have so far explicitly distanced themselves from Rutte’s way of governing. In the heated debate about the photographed memo in which Rutte seemed to suggest a ‘position elsewhere’ for Omtzigt, they came up with the widely supported motion of censure. A parliamentary punishment, but just not enough to send someone away.

Now Kaag, Hoekstra and Rutte are suddenly standing next to each other when they have to answer to the House about why parliament would have been opposed in the allowance file. The question of trust is now also addressed to them.

“If the House of Representatives cannot just do its job, controlling the government, because the government is more busy making sure that the House of Representatives does not get the information it asks for, then you can talk long or short about a new administrative culture. , but then there will be no fair politics, “said SP leader Lilian Marijnissen.

Together with other opposition leaders, she wants the minutes of the councils of ministers discussing the benefits affair to be made public.

Ministers don’t let go of anything

Kaag and Hoekstra wanted to say little about the case until the parliamentary debate was held. “I am here as leader of the CDA”, Hoekstra said on Wednesday after talking about the formation with Tjeenk Willink. According to him, it gets complicated when he has to answer questions about his ministry.

Kaag did not know whether she was present at the relevant Council of Ministers on November 15, 2019, in which it had been decided not to inform the House. “It is very important that there is a cabinet letter in which everything is carefully weighed and all information that is available is provided.”

Rutte also said nothing on Wednesday, except that “nothing strange or improper” happened with regard to informing the Chamber.

Confidence question continues to fade into the background

In the meantime, the ‘old problems’ are not over yet. Jesse Klaver (GroenLinks) and Lilianne Ploumen (PvdA), the party leaders who were initially seen as possible coalition partners of Rutte, still do not see how the VVD leader can regain their confidence.

Rutte has thought about this and “reflected a lot in recent weeks”, he said, but did not want to share his ideas about this with his fellow party chairmen. “I want to give the trial with Tjeenk Willink a chance first.”

A logical sequence from Rutte’s perspective, because the informateur announced on Monday that he mainly wanted to look at the content and look for solutions from there. The question of confidence is thus pushed further and further into the background.
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