Netherlands: What a zoom lens brings to light
After testing positive for Covid, Kajsa Ollongren was forced to hastily leave the coalition talks she was leading in the Netherlands. Reporters zoomed in on notes she was carrying under her arm that said that the combative MP Pieter Omtzigt needed to be posted to a position "elsewhere". Omtzigt played a key role in uncovering the benefits scandal that led to the previous government's resignation.
Authoritarian tendencies confirmed
Alarm bells are ringing at De Telegraaf:
“The controversial notes show that the formation of a coalition is now being used to silence a critical MP. The attempt underlines Omtzigt's criticism: there are too few constraints in politics. And when such constraints manifest themselves in the person of the critical MP, the powers that be simply try to get rid of him. Exactly who the perpetrator is is not known. But this is typical of The Hague's approach. There, constraints are seen as something annoying - although in fact they are oxygen for our political system. Whoever undermines them destroys democracy.”
The government knows how to cover things up
The powerful government apparatus will move to prevent transparency, comments De Volkskrant columnist Sheila Sitalsing:
“At the [PM's office], they don't really care for documents. There's a sign on the toilet that says: 'Openness hurts confidentiality'. ... The office knows what it must do: dig up documents, produce documents, as many documents as possible. Bombard the new MP with them, count on [the two people leading the coalition talks] Kajsa Ollongren and Annemarie Jorritsma creating a huge cloud of words, and then fingers crossed that parliament will simply drown in it all. ”