Voters call on Prime Minister Mark Rutte to resign

A new survey released on Sunday suggests that a narrow majority of the Netherlands voting public wants Prime Minister Mark Rutte to resign. The question about Rutte, a member of the right wing VVD party, was asked by pollster Maurice de Hond following revelations that leaders within his own party made serious errors in disclosing information about a controversial backroom deal with drug dealer Cees H. made in 2001.

Anouchka van Miltenburg, the chairman of the lower house of parliament, resigned on Saturday after she was accused of either intentionally destroying evidence or failing to act upon information she received.

The deal was made by Fred Teeven in his role as a prosecutor. Teeven would go on to become the parliamentary leader of Leefbaar Nederland before joining the VVD. Rutte tapped him as second-in-command at Security and Justice under Minister Ivo Opstelten.

In a hearing on the deal, Opstelten told parliament the deal was worth about two million euros. The reality emerged in March with the discovery of a bank transfer receipt indicating the deal was worth closer to five million euros for the drug kingpin at a time when Teeven could not get hold of enough evidence to convict H.

Both Teeven and Opstelten resigned shortly after the receipt was found. Teeven was later brought back as a member of parliament for the VVD.
Last week it was discovered that Van Miltenburg twice received an anonymous letter detailing inaccuracies in Opstelten’s testimony to parliament. Instead of handing over the letters to the committee tasked with investigating the deal, or instructing her own office to follow up on the information, she destroyed the documents, she acknowledged last week.

Her resignation followed days later. According to Sunday’s results from pollster De Hond, 58 percent supported her resignation. Similarly, 55 percent are calling on Teeven to resign as a member of parliament, and 51 percent want Rutte to step down.

About 70 percent of the public believe Rutte knew more about the situation than he claimed, but a current majority of VVD supporters do not think this is the case. The so-called Teeven Deal has had little effect on support for the VVD over the last week, or its coalition partner, Labour party PvdA. However, if elections were to be held today, recent polling data suggests the anti-Islam PVV party would win the most spots in parliament with 39 of 150 total seats.

Approval of the PvdA fell steadily beginning in March, and had held steady since mid June. Support for the VVD began to wane in July, and then fell sharply as the Netherlands began accepting larger numbers of refugees fleeing ISIS.

If elections were held today, the VVD would take 21 fewer seats than the 41 they won in 2012, and the PvdA would send just 10 people to the lower house of parliament, a far cry from the 38 that sit as MPs now. A margin of error for the poll was not disclosed. The survey’s exact sample size was not released, but on his website De Hond claims Sunday political poll results are typically based on a minimum of 3,000 respondents divided evenly between genders.

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