LPF lawmaker resigns, defects to Labour
4 July 2006, AMSTERDAM — MP Margot Kraneveldt has left the populist LPF to join the Labour Party (PvdA).
4 July 2006
AMSTERDAM — MP Margot Kraneveldt has left the populist LPF to join the Labour Party (PvdA).
Kraneveldt resigned her parliamentary seat with immediate effect on Tuesday. She intends to run for Labour in the general election in November. The LPF is to name a successor shortly to take over her parliamentary seat.
She said in a statement that "as a member of a true PvdA family" she joined the LPF in 2002 out of dissatisfaction with the "closed political culture" whereby important issues were not being addressed.
Labour has radically renewed itself in the last four years, Kraneveldt said, resulting in her feeling more for that party and less and less for the LPF.
She accused the LPF of joining the type of political games it sought to combat by making a right-wing minority government possible between Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende's Christian Democrats and the Liberals (VVD).
Unlike 2002, the LPF will not join the Cabinet but will provide the extra votes the government needs to survive.
The LPF won 28 seats in 2002 and was part of Balkenende's first coalition with the VVD. The government collapsed after 87 days, allegedly after a very prominent member of the LPF threatened to shoot former leader Harry Wijnschenk.
The populists were returned to parliament with just eight seats in the subsequent election. Balkenende formed a government with the VVD and D66. It collapsed last week and talks are underway to form a minority CDA-VVD coalition.
The government parties have a combined strength of 71 seats in the 150-seat parliament. This means the minority government will have to rely on the LPF or a combination of other parties to give it the extra five votes for a majority in contested votes.
LPF leader Gerard van As has pledged to support the government's attempts to complete its reform programme. The LPF's eight-person parliamentary party was reduced to seven in 2004 when former Immigration Minister Hilbrand Nawijn broke away and later formed his own one-person 'Groep Nawijn'.
There has been speculation in recent months that the LPF's justice spokesperson Joost Eerdmans will switch to a new right-wing party when he judges the time to be right.
[Copyright Expatica News + ANP 2006]
Subject: Dutch news