PM withdraws preference for VVD

19th May 2006, Comments 0 comments

19 May 2006, AMSTERDAM — Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende has withdrawn his preference to continue ruling with the Liberal (VVD) if his Christian Democrats (CDA) retain power after the 2007 election.

19 May 2006

AMSTERDAM — Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende has withdrawn his preference to continue ruling with the Liberal (VVD) if his Christian Democrats (CDA) retain power after the 2007 election.

He revealed his change of mind in an interview with newspaper 'Trouw' on Friday. "I have in the past not ruled out the Labour party (PvdA). It is better for the CDA to present its own case and I am going to dedicate myself to doing that."

Nevertheless, Balkenende said he wanted the next coalition to implement the "same type of policy" as the current government. "The policy of healthy government finances, strengthening the structure of the economy, increasing participation in the labour market and new solidarity - this type of policy absolutely must be continued."

The Prime Minister said he still isn't impressed by the proposal by Labour leader Wouter Bos to make senior citizens contribute to the AOW national pension. Balkenende said the problem of an ageing population could better be addressed by getting more people aged 50 and 60 and more immigrant residents back to work.

The CDA has ruled the Netherlands in coalition with the VVD since 2002. Small Democrat party D66 replaced the populist LPF as the third member of the coalition after the election in 2003.

The VVD has been rocked by the decision by Immigration Minister Rita Verdonk (VVD) to cast doubt on whether Liberal MP Ayaan Hirsi Ali was ever a Dutch citizen. The Somali-born critic of Islamic fundamentalism lied about her personal details to get asylum in the Netherlands in 1992.

Verdonk suggested in a letter on Monday that these lies - publicly acknowledged by Hirsi Ali since 2002 - invalidated her naturalisation in 1997. As Verdonk is one of the three candidates hoping to lead the VVD into the 2007 election, she has been accused of political opportunism in relation to her treatment of Hirsi Ali.

A television profile of Hirsi Ali last week revived the issue of the lies she told to get asylum. Hirsi Ali resigned from parliament on Tuesday and announced she is moving to the US.

Verdonk has come in for a lot of criticism for the way she dealt with Hirsi Ali. Parliament instructed the Minister at the end of an 11-hour debate on Wednesday morning to reconsider her judgement on Hirsi Ali’s citizenship.

[Copyright Expatica News + ANP 2006]

Subject: Dutch news

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