No support for Wilders' motion

9th March 2007, Comments 0 comments

9 March 2007, AMSTERDAM – It became clear during an emergency debate on Thursday that a large majority in Parliament has no objection to the advisory work that Labour (PvdA) MP Khadija Arib does for the Moroccan government. Only Geert Wilders' Freedom Party (PVV) demanded that Moroccan-born Arib stop her "work for the foreign government."

9 March 2007

AMSTERDAM – It became clear during an emergency debate on Thursday that a large majority in Parliament has no objection to the advisory work that Labour (PvdA) MP Khadija Arib does for the Moroccan government. Only Geert Wilders' Freedom Party (PVV) demanded that Moroccan-born Arib stop her "work for the foreign government."

There was no support whatsoever for a motion from Wilders calling on Arib to either stop her advisory work or resign from Parliament. The Liberals (VVD) do think that Arib is complicating the integration process by maintaining a "double orientation" towards both the Netherlands and Morocco.

Harsh words were exchanged during the debate. Wilders lashed out not only at Arib's committee work, but also said it was a "scandal" that Arib said on the radio that she is "not loyal" to the Netherlands or Morocco.

Wilders also thought it "scandalous" that Arib said she was glad she had two passports, so that she would still be able to leave the country if people like Wilders were to come into power here.

Wilders was in turn fiercely attacked by a number of other factions. Green-left (GroenLinks) leader Femke Halsema accused him of maintaining a "double standard." Wilders was going out of his way to attack the advisory work of an MP of Muslim background but was saying nothing about the paid advisory work that VVD MP Hans van Baalen reportedly does for the Taiwanese government, Halsema said.

A VVD spokesperson said that Van Baalen performs unpaid advisory work for a liberal party in Taiwan.

Halsema, Sybrand van Haersma Buma (Christian Democrat CDA) and Alexander Pechtold (Democrats D66) reminded Wilders about the scandal surrounding his faction member Dion Graus. Graus was recently in the news because he reportedly abused his ex-girlfriends. Wilders said this accusation was irrelevant, but still refuses to disclose the findings of an investigation that he himself had ordered into the Graus situation.

Halsema also had fierce criticism for the VVD. She said VVD leader Mark Rutte had "besmirched" Arib's integrity over the past few days in the interest of the elections this week.

The PvdA had called for the emergency debate to put an end to the discussion that had been dragging on for days with regard to Arib's integrity. Wilders and the VVD also wanted to hold an emergency debate on the topic but would have preferred that Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende could attend. The debate would have had to be postponed until next week because Balkenende was in Brussels on Thursday.

Justice Minister Ernst Hirsch Ballin stood in for Balkenende on Thursday. He simply said that the cabinet "does not get involved" when it comes to MPs' outside activities.

Arib said after the debate that she felt supported by Parliament and would continue her advisory work. She sits on a committee that advises on the human rights of Moroccan migrants in Europe.

Wilders was initially hinting at calling another debate on the matter for next week, when Balkenende could attend, but decided not to in the end.

[Copyright Expatica News + ANP 2007]

Subject: Dutch news

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