The Cabinet has fallen. What does that mean for tackling the coronacrisis, and why are politicians resigning, but are there no officials being fired? You sent us your questions about the fall of the cabinet and political reporter Arjan Noorlander answered them this afternoon in a Q&A. Below you can read the most important questions and see them again.
What is the point of dropping the cabinet two months before the elections? Isn‘t that just symbolic politics?
According to Noorlander, that’s partly true. “It is symbolism, but symbolism is also really important in politics. This symbolism means something, namely that the cabinet and politics realize that what went wrong here is so bad that they really have to resign for it. And it‘s also an important warning for the future for people facing similar issues.”
Can Rutte continue as a leader of the VVD?
Others draw consequences: Lodewijk Asscher is no longer available as the leader of the PvdA and Minister Wiebes for Economic Affairs has resigned because he feels “heavily co-responsible” for the payment affair.
“ Rutte does not do that very emphatically,” says Noorlander. “He says, ‘I take responsibility as Prime Minister, in that sense I am residing now, but I remain the leader of the VVD. I think it is important to show that I can fix my own mistakes in the coming years, that I am the best for that, and I leave it to the electorate or who gives me another chance to enter a cabinet or perhaps even become Prime Minister again. ‘”
What are the parents doing with the Cabinet resigning?
“ The answer to that is actually very simple,” says Noorlander, “they do not do anything with that. Except that they might feel a little satisfaction.”
According to Noorlander, what is important to them is the letter from the Cabinet stating how the Cabinet wants to prevent this kind of thing happening in the future and how they want to help parents who have been in trouble better. They’re going to try to help the affected families at an accelerated pace. “That is actually the profit of today,” says Noorlander.
Does the resignation of the Cabinet affect the corona approach?
Many people are concerned that the approach to the coronacrisis is being jeopardised, and that is, according to Noorlander, very logical, because now that the coalition is broken, the parties can go far more on their own course.
One of the examples often mentioned is, according to Noorlander, the setting of a curfew. The Cabinet wants to take a serious look at that, but it is known that D66 is against it. “They haven‘t blocked it until now because they were in the cabinet, but of course something like that can change now. So in that sense it will be a very exciting time.”
Why are civil servants and the Tax Administration not addressed?
“ Officially, when mistakes are made by officials, politicians take responsibility for it,” Noorlander explains. “But for many people that is not enough, who believe that officials have gone so far beyond the line that they should be prosecuted for it.”
The Public Prosecutor’s Office has also looked at this at the request of the Cabinet, but has ruled that officials cannot be prosecuted if they implement the policy devised by the legislator.
That is why the parents who have been affected have now brought a case against the government, politicians and civil servants, “because they want to check again whether there are really no criminal offences. And that is possible, because if officials have been genuinely punishable, they can simply be convicted.”