Labour miffed at reporting on councillors
21 March 2006, AMSTERDAM — The media's reporting about non-native Dutch councillors elected for the Labour Party (PvdA) has taken on "racist features", party chairman Michiel van Hulten said on Tuesday.
21 March 2006
AMSTERDAM — The media's reporting about non-native Dutch councillors elected for the Labour Party (PvdA) has taken on "racist features", party chairman Michiel van Hulten said on Tuesday.
He said the reporting risked driving a deeper wedge between the native Dutch and Allochtoon (non-native Dutch) communities in the Netherlands.
"Boundaries have been crossed. The media is polarising. If this was not about allochtonen the discussion would not have flared up so much," he said.
He was responding to the fuss generated by remarks made by his leader Wouter Bos in light of the big gains for Labour in the local election on 7 March.
Bos conceded he expected the large number of councillors elected for the first time would lead to 'accidents'.
He said 'many people, including allochtonen, had obtained a council seat because they had received preference votes "while we don’t know if they are as qualified as people higher up on the party lists".
On the other hand, Bos expressed enthusiasm for the large-scale participation of allochtonen on local councils. The media reports of his comments led to indignation among allochtonen. Van Hulten placed the blame on the media for focusing in on that part of the PvdA leader's comments.
"Wouter Bos expended half a sentence on allochtonen and then you get this. There is something wrong here."
Bos, who was visiting India with other party leaders, also expressed annoyance at the way his comments were reported. "I am baffled that I suddenly find myself in a camp that I want to combat. I have made clear in all sorts of ways I am pleased with the large number of non-native Dutch voters".
Van Hulten accused the media of not showing respect to allochtonen. "A section of the population was placed in a corner and that does these people an injustice," he said.
The chairman did admit however the party's big win in the election posed a potential risk. "I cannot guarantee that all the thousands of candidates are sufficiently qualified".
Echoing Bos, Van Hulten agreed there was a danger the PvdA could be seen as the Partij van de Allochtonen rather than its actual title of Partij van de Arbeid (Labour Party).
"The impression is that 80 percent of the PvdA voters are non-native Dutch residents. It would be a dangerous should this image sink in. I believe voters mainly look to us because of our policies - and then there is no reason for white Dutch people to walk away," van Hulten said.
[Copyright Expatica News + ANP 2006]
Subject: Dutch news