March 24 2011
In an open letter to Dutch newspaper Volkskrant, Muslim members of the national Christian Democratic party say that they feel they are seen first as Muslims and only second as members of the CDA. The letter warns that Muslim members may leave the party, in which case its position in urban centers could weaken. Regarding their dissatisfaction with the party the letter notes the problem that “we are in alliance with a part that makes combating Islam a key issue”, a reference to Geert Wilders’ PVV.
While the far right Freedom Party (PVV), headed by Geert Wilders, came in second in municipal elections in the Hague last month, their position on the headscarf has prevented them from forming a ruling coalition. The party is insisting on a headscarf ban in municipal buildings, a condition which no other party will accept in forming a coalition. The party came second in the municipal elections, winning 16.8% of the vote and eight of the 45 municipal council seats. However, given its insistence on the headscarf ban, officials no longer consider it a possible coalition party.
The Volkskrant reports that government ministers will discuss a request by Geert Wilders’ PVV party to calculate exactly how much non-western immigrants cost Dutch society. Ministers must decide how far they will go in their reply on this ‘sensitive issue’, which some political parties had hoped to ignore. Integration minister Eberhard van der Laan has asked the government’s social policy unit, the SCP, to help ministers make the calculations.
Geert Wilders’ PVV (Party for Freedom) has asked that Dutch ministries conduct a “cost benefit analysis” of the presence of non-western immigrants in the Netherlands. Member of Parliament Sietse Fritsma has requested that each ministry calculate how much immigrants contribute in taxes and how much of the departments’ expenses are due to immigrants. Figures are requested for the past year and five years, as well as forecasts for the upcoming year and five year period. It remains unclear whether the ministries will respond to Fritsma’s request individually or provide a collective statement.