Den Haag – This month the Dutch cabinet Rutte II has been started to dismantle democracy two times in a row. First when the Upper Chamber (Eerste Kamer) disapproved a legislative proposal Rutte II threatened to ignore their decision and go on with it. Second when two VVD ministers refused to carry out a bill which had been accepted by the same Upper Chamber, because they considered January first 2015 being too soon for installation.
Rutte II is unwilling to execute the proposed legislation that is dealing with health care insurance. Minister Schippers has proposed to restrict freedom of choice of specialist care by law. The Eerste Kamer did not agree and three of its members, members of the ruling PvdA, voted against the bill. Normal Dutch democratic procedure would be resignation of the cabinet and new elections. In stead the Dutch prime minister Rutte threatened the members of parliament to execute Schippers proposed legislation by emergency law if they would oppose a new proposal with the same outcome again after holidays.
Rutte is threatening to dismantle the Eerste Kamer practically. So if the senators do not cooperate next time, the cabinet will do as they please against the will of parliament. This sort of emergency law is called AMvB and is usually used as an addition to a bill. In this case however through this AMvB exactly the opposite of the bill will be executed. Permission of Parliament in order to execute an AMvB is unnecessary. So this could open the way to ignore the Upper Chamber in future again. So far opposition against the threats of Rutte’s government has been absent. Rutte is teaching the Dutch, as dummies, how to eradicate democracy in a simple way .
Unfortunately this was not all. A week later this very month the Eerste Kamer approved a bill to reducing high incomes of members of the boards of (semi)public bodies starting January 1st 2015. One day later both minister Blok and his colleague minister Schippers told Parliament refused to execute the bill as they did not have enough time.
As a result directors of hospitals, homes and housing corporations can keep on earning 50,000 euro more than a minister in 2015. Afterwards they will earn a maximum salary of 178,000 euro, which equals the earnings of a minister. So against the will of Parliament the cabinet is delaying the execution of this democratic accepted bill.
A majority of the Tweede Kamer (Lower House of Parliament) refused to return from holiday to discuss the matter. Rutte II is again passing the Eerste Kamer and most members of parliament do not seem to be much upset about it!
March 2015 elections for a new Eerste Kamer will be held, but as Rutte is continuing to ignore the power of the Upper Chamber one could ask why this show should go on. The ruling parties VVD (liberal conservatives) and PvdA (social democrats) seem to be determined to rule with or without the Senate threatening democracy seriously in the Netherlands.
It is incredible what is going on these days in Holland. The VVD-PvdA government is eliminating social (health) care, sinking more than 2,5 million people in poverty, favouring multinational corporations with tax advantages and privatization and leaving banks untouched. And finally putting democracy, for what ever is left of it, at risk.