Green Left party backs MP who burgled ministry
MP Wijnand Duyvendak who recently revealed he was involved in a 1985 burglary of the Economic Affairs ministry is being backed by his party.7 August 2008
The Green Left party says it will continue to support its MP Wijnand Duyvendak, who recently revealed he was involved in a 1985 burglary of the Economic Affairs ministry.
In his soon-to-be-published book Climate Activist in Politics, Duyvendak confesses that he and several other activists stole plans for new nuclear power plants.
"Minister Van Aardenne was driven into a corner, the operation was a great success," he claimed earlier this week. "No one has ever known who was in the action group."
Duyvendak always denied having anything to do with the break-in. Now, however, he is safe from prosecution, as under the statute of limitations the offence was committed too long ago for him to be charged. Green Left says he informed the party about his involvement when he was asked to become an MP.
Before joining parliament, Duyvendak was a leading environmental campaigner. This included a three-year stint as director of the Dutch branch of Friends of the Earth. Prior to that he was involved in the squatters movement and the anti-apartheid campaign.
He also describes in his book how he served six weeks in gaol in 1984 for his part in the burglary of a military complex.
He is not the only Dutch politician with a criminal record dating from a radical campaigning past. Green Left Senator Sam Pormes served a gaol sentence in the early 1980s for planning an attack on two police officers, while more recently Socialist Party MP Krista van Velzen was arrested for damaging a nuclear submarine.
Green Left points out that Duyvendak now stresses he believes political action should remain within the boundaries of the law. However, other parties claim he has compromised the standing of parliament as a whole, in particular condemning the "proud tone" of Duyvendak's confessions. The conservative VVD says that the credentials of future MPs should be checked by the authorities before they take their seats.
[Radio Netherlands / Expatica]