Sunday, April 23, 2006

Self defense - best defense

The battle between the contenders for the leadership of the VVD, the liberal-conservative party is getting fiercer and fiercer .


Verdonk is working on sending back criminals from the Dutch Antilles in the Caribbean. Antillians are strongly overrepresented in violent crime in the Netherlands. The 22 municipalities with a significant group of Antillians support (Dutch) Verdonk's plan to send back repeat offenders. Last Friday the council of judges warned that this might be against EU treaties. Citizens of the Dutch Antilles are automatically also citizens of The Netherlands, according to the 1954 Statute that shapes the legal relations between the Antilles and The Netherlands. The Dutch Antilles require strict policies against Dutch citizens who come to live on their islands, sending back people who are unemployed or criminal.


In a response contender Mark Rutte is beefing up his law-and-order image. He is pushing for the right to selfdefense of house and shopowner's that are burglarised. Right now it is so that Dutch citizens who use violence against intruders are treated as criminals by the police and the courts. Rutte argues that the state should be on the side of the victims of crime and not on the side of the criminals. His argument was pasted in huge letters on the front page of the right-wing and populist "De Telegraaf" last Friday 21 April.

My take on it is that the leadership of the VVD is afraid that Rita Verdonk is not the right person to lead their party. Verdonk will split the party up. VVD Old-timer Nijpels has said
"I get the feeling that if she becomes the political leader (lijsttrekker), we will have taken on a walking disaster". The article in the "De Telegraaf" is the result of string pulling by VVD strategist to bolster the appeal of Mark Rutte. Verdonk is very popular with right-wing voters.

Still the struggle for the VVD leadership is good for the popularity of the party in the polls. The party is part of the ruling right-wing coalitions whose tight economic and fiscal policies are cauing hardship for parts of the Dutch population. Due to the lack of strong personalities in the political leadership the right wing was losing its popularity as was shown in the red flood rising in the municipal election on 7 March. The battle between Rutte and Verdonk seems to be countering that trend.

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