The Dutch parliamentary elections are just two days away, and on Monday evening, the leaders of the major political parties faced off in a televised debate at Ahoy in Rotterdam. Although the atmosphere was less heated than it had been in previous debates, the differences between the right and left became clear once again.
The six party leaders – Dilan Yesilgöz (VVD), Frans Timmermans (GL-PvdA), Geert Wilders (PVV), Pieter Omtzigt (NSC), Rob Jetten (D66) and Caroline van der Plas (BBB) – were given the opportunity to discuss three key issues: migration, climate change, and social security.
The climate change theme caused intense discussions, with Timmermans and Jetten arguing for more ambitious climate goals, while the others feared the economic costs associated with such measures. Wilders strongly opposed these arguments, stating that people simply want to be able to afford their groceries.
The migration debate also resulted in a significant contradiction between Yesilgöz, Wilders, Omtzigt, and Van der Plas who all advocated for stricter immigration policies. While Timmermans and Jetten emphasized that the Netherlands must remain a hospitable country. Jetten even attacked Yesilgöz’s VVD party directly by accusing them of holding sway over migration policy for twelve years without any real results on reducing criminal asylum seekers or speeding up refugees’ return to their home countries.
Despite these differences, there was some consensus among the leaders on one issue: housing. Each party emphasized the need for maximum efforts to boost construction after the elections. However, it remains unclear how much progress will be made on this front during Wednesday’s elections.