Controversy over Turkish and Arabic posters in Netherlands’ election

Several candidates running in the Netherlands’ March 3 local elections have published campaign material in languages other than Dutch, sparking criticism from other campaigners. Turkish and Arabic-language election posters have appeared at various places in the country, as Labour (PvdA), the Christian democrats (CDA), centre-left D66, the Socialist Party (SP) and the leftwing Greens have posters up on which Islamic candidates are seeking their ethnic group’s voting support. The materials were printed by candidates without the permission of their party executive, and other parties have been reluctant to criticize the poster because they also have candidates publishing non-Dutch material.

Nonetheless, Integration minister Eberhard van der Laan has called on all parties to stop producing election campaign posters in other languages because they ‘do not fit in with the message’ that immigrants should learn Dutch. But the city’s Labour party has refused to withdraw leaflets in other languages, Dutch News reports. ‘The reality is that not everyone in Amsterdam speaks good Dutch. But these people should be able to vote as well,’ campaign leader Lodewijk Asscher said.