Cabinet rejects amnesty in parliamentary showdown
5 December 2006, AMSTERDAM — The Cabinet has reportedly rejected a general amnesty for asylum seekers who have been in the Netherlands longer than five years.
5 December 2006
AMSTERDAM — The Cabinet has reportedly rejected a general amnesty for asylum seekers who have been in the Netherlands longer than five years.
The government has also refused to place a temporary freeze on expulsions, political sources told Dutch media.
The likely consequence will be a motion of no confidence against Liberal VVD Immigration Minister Rita Verdonk.
News of the decision was leaked to the press after the Christian Democrat CDA and VVD caretaker cabinet held a special meeting on Tuesday.
Involved government ministers had discussed at the meeting a letter to be sent to the Dutch Parliament about the issue.
A small parliamentary majority had supported a Labour PvdA motion last Thursday laying the groundwork for a general amnesty.
In anticipation of an amnesty, MPs voted in favour of a proposal calling on the government to temporarily halt deportations of rejected asylum seekers.
But the cabinet said the motion was constitutionally, technically and politically unacceptable.
The amnesty will play an important role in cabinet formation talks, in which the CDA, PvdA and SP are involved.
The PvdA and SP are calling for a general amnesty and sources have indicated that the CDA is open to such a reversal of policy.
CDA leader Jan Peter Balkenende said the amnesty should be arranged in coalition formation talks, not in the parliament.
He accused the PvdA and SP of playing chess on two boards.
The left-wing parties are now expected to lodge a motion of no confidence against Verdonk.
VVD sources have not ruled out the possibility that all VVD ministers will resign if the motion is lodged.
[Copyright Expatica News + ANP 2006]
Subject: Dutch news