PVV leader Geert Wilders asked all MEPs to confess their colors after the votes had been tied to his proposal. To be able to vote through conversations, a quorum must be present. This means that at least 76 MEPs must sit in the room to say ‘for’ or ‘against’.
The opposition accuses the coalition of deliberately leaving the building in order for their MPs to frustrate the vote on talks. Chamber President Arib had to state that there were not enough people present. The House of Representatives returned from a weekend on Wednesday especially for an extra debate on the corona crisis.
PVV leader Wilders says he saw CDA party leader Pieter Heerma “flee because he is too cowardly to vote”. GroenLinks leader Jesse Klaver calls the situation “undemocratic” and “uncollegial”. “I think it is unusual for coalition members to flee the building,” said Lodewijk Asscher of the PvdA. “This is not the respect a coalition should have for the opposition.”
SP leader Lilian Marijnissen wonders how the whole situation meets the people at home: “What should healthcare workers think about this now?” The House of Representatives must now meet at a later date to vote on Wilder’s proposal.
The coalition parties point to an agreement reached in the Bureau of the House of Representatives on votes in corona talks. Behind the scenes, it was agreed to organize separate sessions for this, during which MEPs will vote in groups of fifty. In this way, politicians can keep a sufficient distance from each other in the national conference room.