Crucial Christian Democrat congress in Arnhem
There were protests this morning outside the Christian Democrat CDA party congress in Arnhem. Several dozen activists dispayed banners with slogans like "Freedom Yes, Freedom Party No" and set up a large TV screen showing a loop of Geert Wilders speaking in 2009 when he claimed that CDA stands for "Christians Serve Allah" .
Around 4,500 party members are gathering to decide whether to accept the governing agreements drawn up by CDA leader Maxime Verhagen for a minority coalition with the conservative VVD supported in parliament by Geert Wilders' anti-Islam Freedom Party PVV. Two agreements were negotiated. One is the coalition agreement between the VVD and the CDA and the other sets out the terms under which the PVV will support the coalition.
A number of prominent Christian Democrats have already argued against any form of cooperation with the Freedom Party. They include two former prime ministers and past and present cabinet ministers. Even if the party comes out in favour of the deal, any serious dissent within the CDA could threaten the stability of the new government which, even including the PVV, will have a majority of just one seat.
The voting is scheduled to take place at around 17:00 Dutch time.
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