Saturday, July 31, 2010

A Minority Government

The Fragmented Dutch political landscape

The Dutch political landscape is splintering and in the June elections this resulted in a heavy fragmented Left and Right. Both with four parties. Under such circumstances it is difficult to form a cabinet which can constitute a viable government. An added difficulty on the right is the Freedom Party (PVV) of Geert Wilders, which breaks the consensus of the political elite on Islam, multiculturalism and mass-immigration.

Negotiations to form a cabinet

Negotiations in June on a right-wing government of Christian-Democrats (CDA), right-liberals (VVD) and PVV broke down in June. Especially the CDA was hostile to Wilders' anti-Islamic agenda. Due to the adverse economic situation Labour (PvdA) did not want to form a leftwing government, they feel the need to shrink the state budget and the leftwing partners could not be made to agree. A centre government of the main leftwing and rightwing parties was tried but was found wanting. Meanwhile the PVV started rising in the polls again and taking votes from the rightwing parties, who were shrinking.

We are seven weeks without a government now and counting.

The minority Cabinet

The Queen appoints a functionary who leads the negotiations, a informateur. In each variant the informateur concerned gave up his mission to form a cabinet.

This week the Queen advised CDA-leader Verhagen to co-operate to try a new variant on the right. They must form a minority cabinet with the right-liberal VVD, which would be tacitly supported in key areas by the PVV. Or other fleeting coalitions of non-government parties in order to legislate specific issues.

A declaration of discord

This is leading to some results. As parties come closer to a deal, the need for caveats and conditions is felt and yesterday CDA, VVD and PVV made a joint declaration on their differences on how they view Islam.

The declaration was translated and put on GoV. It reads:
The three parties VVD, PVV, and CDA disagree about the nature and character of Islam. The dividing line is in the characterization of the Islam as either a religion or a (political) ideology.

Parties accept each other’s different views on this subject and will also act on this based on their own views.

However, there is much that binds the parties: making the Netherlands stronger, safer, and more prosperous is the common goal and starting point.

- - - - - - - - -

Therefore — accepting each other’s differences of opinion and fully assigning to one another the freedom of expression with regard to the differences of opinion — it is agreed that the PVV will support elements of the yet-to-be-negotiated government agreement from a position of support. The VVD and CDA will on their part honor the wishes of the PVV in the support agreement to be settled.

In any case the, such support agreement arrangements should settle the details of the measures for budget cuts and firm agreements on immigration, integration and asylum, safety, and better care for the elderly, whereby it is clear that for the PVV the willingness to support the budget cuts is linked to the content of the agreements to be settled in the fields of immigration, integration and asylum, safety and elderly care.

Mark Rutte [VVD]
Geert Wilders [PVV]
Maxime Verhagen [CDA]

The Hague, July 30, 2010
So the PVV has not had to compromise its view that Islam is a political ideology and not a mere religion. While the leftwing of the CDA is appeassed by the declaration's insistence that the Christian-Democrats see things differently.

The benefits of this almost a deal

Taking a long view this set-up may be very beneficial for the PVV. They keep their distance to the government, while being able to deliver some real benefits to their voter base. VVD and CDA will get the plush jobs but in a few years there will be new elections and they will probably have to face a strengthened PVV which is becoming the premier rightwing party.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Outsiders and Insiders

The children of the asylum seeker

This week the Court of The Hague has made a verdict in the case of the children of an Angolan asylum seeker which is regarded by many as a break-through. The woman's request for asylum was turned down as were her appeals. She refuses to go back to Angola however.

The state has refused to take care of the woman and her brood any longer. The asylum seeker centre Ter Apel have said she will be expelled from the centre in September or therabouts. The women went to court and demanded ongoing care, shelter and education for her brood from the state arguing that the state is is responsible to her and her offspring even while she and the father disobey the law.

The The Hague Court ruled that international treaties such as the European Social Charter and the International Convention of the Rights of the Child oblige the state to take care of the needs of the children. Not supporting them is a wrongful act.

The Minister of the Interior, Ernst Hirsch Ballin, has to react within a month.

A Dutch Court and pirates from the gulf of Aden

More from Dutch Courts. In June a Court in the port city of Rotterdam ruled in a case brought by the state against five Somali Pirates for hyjacking a ship registered in the Dutch Antilles, and therefore part of the Kingdom of The Netherlands. The pirates had been arrested in the Gulf of Aden by a Danish Navy crew, from a Danish ship which is part of a international anti-piracy flottilla.

The flottilla is suppossed to protect the trading shipping which carries commerce between the major civilisations. Because the attack on the ship took not place in Dutch waters it was questionable whether the Rotterdam court and Dutch law would apply to the case at all. The ruling of the Rotterdam court was that the court and Dutch law were relevant to the case and sentenced the pirates to five years in prison in The Netherlands. The pirates announced their intention to apply for asylum once their term was up.

Being broad-minded

In the above described cases it is striking how broad Dutch judges see the responsibility of the Dutch state and the application of Dutch law. And how little they are concerned with the interest of average Dutch citizens. Dutch citizens will have to foot the housing, medical and educational bills for the Angolese asylum seekers children. For the inprisoning of the Somali pirates and for the bills of giving houses and benefits to the Somali pirates once they are released. And for the expenses of the wifes and children the pirates will bring into The Netherlands. Actually the "punishment" of the pirates is no punishment at all, but an incentive for Somalis to join pirates and make money by hyjacking ships and in bonus to all the loot perhaps receive the right to come and live in The Netherlands on the purse of the Dutch tax payer.

Smaller and bigger international pirates

The international treaties the judges base their rulings on have been promoted by transnational elites which is distant from the common people. The latter have had no voice in the matter. As the growing popularity of Geert Wilders' Freedom Party (PVV) shows the public is getting fed up with having to foot the bills of the rest of the globe. But the PVV is up against a powerful array of international treaties which overrule Dutch democracy and therefore the power of the PVV to influence the the course of the Dutch state. The state, originally a tool of the nation to protect and serve its interests has been hyjacked by these transnational pirates.

Internationalist Alliance for Freedom

Thus it makes sense for PVV leader Geert Wilders to launch an international effort. What he terms the Geert Wilders International Freedom Alliance in order to counter the power of the transnational pirates whether they are Dutch judges, transnational lawmakers and influence peddlers, African seekers of unearned economic benefits or Somali Pirates.

The date of the trial against Geert Wilders

The trial in July

In February this year this blog reported that the trial against Freedom Party (PVV) leader Geert Wilders would held in July. July is almost over and still no trial.

The new date for the Geert Wilders trial

The website of the Court of Amsterdam,, states that the Wilders trial (Dutch) will be held in October. The hearings will start on the fourth of October and the verdict is planned for November 2. The reason for the delay which is given is the fact that some of the witnesses Mr. Wilders called up would be unable to make it at an earlier date.