Netherlands: parliament back to work with no government

Half a year after the parliamentary elections, the Netherlands still has no government. King Willem-Alexander will kick off the parliamentary year today with a speech written by the caretaker government. Commentators examine the problems plaguing Dutch politics.

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De Volkskrant (NL) /

If the king could speak his mind...

Volkskrant columnist Sheila Sitalsing imagines what Willem-Alexander would say if he could speak freely:

“That he's ashamed of a generation of politicians who refuse to look beyond the end of their own noses and who are so obsessed with their image that they can't even manage to reach a coalition agreement. ... That he doesn't and can't understand that the head of a cabinet that resigned [because of the disastrous child subsidy scandal] stood for election again shortly afterwards with a grin on his face. That he was ashamed of his subjects, who simply re-elected this man.”

NRC Handelsblad (NL) /

The Hague stuck in a deep swamp

NRC Handelsblad columnist Tom-Jan Meeus blames irresponsible politicians for the growing disenchantment with politics:

“Ministers run away or are forced to leave. Parliament has been on a confrontational course for half a year. The political centre, the backbone of democracy since 1917, has imploded: the formation of a new government is stalled. ... Hopefully [politicians] of all parties won't forget that it's precisely their incompetence, their selfishness in the process of forming a government, that creates the circumstances from which figures like [far-right politician Thierry Baudet] can benefit.”