Ex-Liberal boss compares Verdonk to Le Pen
6 July 2006, AMSTERDAM — Rita Verdonk, the hardline minister for immigration, has been targeted by fresh criticism. This time it comes from Hans Dijkstal, the former leader of the Liberal Party (VVD) of which she is a member.
6 July 2006
AMSTERDAM — Rita Verdonk, the hardline minister for immigration, has been targeted by fresh criticism. This time it comes from Hans Dijkstal, the former leader of the Liberal Party (VVD) of which she is a member.
Dijkstal suggested she fits into the line of populists that incorporates French National Front leader Jean-Marie Le Pen, Filip Dewinter of the right-wing Vlaams Belang and Jörg Haider, the former leader of the right-wing FPO in Austria.
The former VVD leader also included murdered Dutch populist Pim Fortuyn and American billionaire Ross Perot on the list. Perot contested the US presidential election in 1992 and 1996.
"Verdonk has gone on a total populist trip in recent months," Dijkstal said in an interview with regional newspapers.
Dijkstal is on the left of the Liberal Party and recently was one of the supporters of a charter calling for better treatment for immigrants in the Netherlands. He told the interviewer that he was worried about the uncompromising political culture in the country.
He blamed television in particular for providing a soapbox for politicians to make simplistic, un-nuanced statements.
"It is not for nothing that populists like Verdonk, Haider, Dewinter, Le Pen, Pim Fortuyn and Ross Perot have been so successful," he said.
Democrats D66 withdrew from the coalition with the Christian Democrats (CDA) and VVD last week over its opposition to Verdonk.
The CDA and VVD are expected to form a minority government on Friday but D66 said on Wednesday it will lodge a motion of no confidence because Verdonk remains a minister. Such a motion has little chance of success.
Earlier this week, former VVD parliamentary leader Jozias van Aartsen accused Verdonk of being blinded by her own popularity in the polls.
[Copyright Expatica News + ANP 2006]
Subject: Dutch news