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The Hague

Dutch parties demand that FvD be excluded from coalition

Dutch party leaders have urged the VVD in the province of Brabant to rule out a coalition with the Forum voor Democratie after the province’s government collapsed. The VVD, the People's Party for Freedom and Democracy, is a liberal political party in the Netherlands.

Published: February 11, 2020, 8:30 am

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    The VVD had said on its website that the three largest parties in the provincial assembly – VVD, FvD and Christian Democrats (CDA) – should “attempt to build a stable and open majority coalition”. FvD is the second largest party in Brabant, holding nine of the 55 assembly seats. But in the Netherlands there are no coalitions with the Forum.

    The FvD is the political party with the highest number of members according to figures from the Documentation Center for Dutch Political Parties (DNPP), which publishes the numbers annually.

    Rob Jetten, leader of the leftist coalition party D66, complained that it was “incomprehensible” that the VVD was proposing a deal in Brabant with FvD. “CDA and VVD are throwing away their principles, in the very week when Baudet has dismissed hundreds of thousands of his compatriots, Dutch people with a Moroccan background,” he said. “Brabant deserves better. The Netherlands deserves better,” he added.

    Baudet was targeted in a smear campaign recently because he had tweeted that two of his friends had been harassed by Moroccans on a train. It later emerged that the four men were undercover ticket inspectors and a plainclothes police officer who asked the women to show their travel passes “during a routine check”. One was of North African origin. Baudet has refused to apologise for his tweet and said accusations of racism were “absurd”.

    He sent a tweet about two of his girlfriends who were allegedly seriously harassed by Moroccans because the women initially did not want to show their tickets.

    “The point remains that many women feel unsafe because of street harassment,” he added.

    Jesse Klaver, leader of the opposition ecology party GroenLinks, also attacked the FvD. “VVD and CDA want to help the far-right take the reins. And that after the racist expressions of the FvD leader this week. The provinces need to solve the nitrogen crisis, but VVD and CDA are now teaming up with a party that denies the nitrogen crisis exists.”

    Provincial assemblies have been a focal point of the tensions over the Council of State’s ruling last year that the government needs to overhaul its regulations that limit nitrogen emissions, which are likely to lead to much stricter controls on the agriculture industry.

    The previous coalition in Brabant, a five-way partnership between VVD, CDA, D66, GroenLinks and the Labour party (PvdA), was disbanded six months ago when the CDA pulled out in a dispute over nitrogen regulations targeting farmers.

    FvD received 14,5 per cent of the vote in last year’s provincial elections, making it the largest group overall at regional level, but is not involved in any of the 12 coalition governments. One delegate elected on an FvD ticket is in coalition in Limburg as an independent member.

    Meanwhile, the CDA has called for less immigrants, echoing the FvD. Immigration has emerged as a key issue in the campaign for the March 2021 general election.

    The Junior economic affairs minister Mona de Keijzer (CDA) has become the latest high profile politician to call for more restrictions on immigration.

    De Keijzer told television show WNL op Zondag that the Netherlands has now reached its limits in terms of the size of the population. But she declined to say how many immigrants should be allowed in, citing a possible conflict with international treaties as a reason.

    “You could give a number, but we have signed up to international treaties and it would be complicated,” she explained.

    De Keijzer is the second CDA minister to hint at tighter restrictions on immigration. In January, deputy prime minister Hugo de Jonge said he backed new limits, after figures from the national statistics agency CBS showed the population of the Netherlands had grown by 132 000 last year.

    “Refugees” made up 6 percent of the 132 000 total increase in the population last year, the CBS figures show. Many new arrivals are from India. De Keijzer’s comments came in reaction to a survey carried out by Kantar (formerly TNS Nipo) for Dutch daily De Telegraaf, which showed that 65 percent of the Dutch population back further restrictions on immigration.

    The research was prompted by new population forecasts, which showed that the Netherlands may have 19 million inhabitants in 2039. The expected growth is mainly caused by immigration. Many Dutch people fear that the predicted population growth will lead to major problems in healthcare and housing. A very large proportion (91 percent) think that there is hardly any room for more residents.

    And that view is shared by 48 percent of the Dutch with a non-western background, the Telegraaf noted. Nine in 10 people said there was “hardly any room” for more newcomers, a view shared by 77 percent of people with ethnic minority roots.

    And 44 percent said the borders should be closed, even if this had an impact on economic growth, the Telegraaf reported. Some 33 percent of people with a degree shared this view.

    However, while six in 10 people said migrants should remain in the region where they came from, 44 percent of people said there should be no restrictions on the number of asylum seekers. The Telegraaf said 1 700 people were questioned as part the survey, of whom just over 1 000 responded. In addition, 250 people with an ethnic minority background were asked to take part.

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