Rotterdam coalition crisis ends

9th November 2005, Comments 0 comments

9 November 2005, AMSTERDAM — Leefbaar Rotterdam (LR) members Marianne van den Anker and Wim van Sluis will remain active in the executive of Rotterdam City Council, their former colleague Marco Pastors said in an interview on Wednesday.

9 November 2005

AMSTERDAM — Leefbaar Rotterdam (LR) members Marianne van den Anker and Wim van Sluis will remain active in the executive of Rotterdam City Council, their former colleague Marco Pastors said in an interview on Wednesday.

This would seem to guarantee the executive council will remain in place until the local elections in March 2006.

LR's councillors and party members meet on Wednesday morning to decide how to respond to the sacking of Pastors from the executive on Tuesday. His dismissal provoked a political crisis in Rotterdam. After the meeting, LR announced Van der Anker and Van Sluis would remain on the executive.

Pastors was in charge of the city's infrastructure policy and is a leading light in Leefbaar Rotterdam, the party led by populist Pim Fortuyn until he was murdered in May 2002. Pastors has been described as the new Fortuyn.

LR is by far the biggest party in Rotterdam and rules in coalition with the Christian Democrats (CDA) and the Liberal Party (VVD). The CDA backed a motion of no confidence that forced Pastors out of his job on the executive on Tuesday. "An unreliable coalition partner," Pastors said after the vote. "I would prefer to throw them out the window."

Ronald Sørensen, LR's leader on the council, was also angry at the CDA for ditching Pastors. "This amounts to curtailing the freedom of expression. We should guard free speech," he said.

The no-confidence motion was passed by 23 to 20 votes after a five-hour debate on Tuesday.

The motion was submitted by the green-left Groenlinks after Pastors said in an interview that Muslims who commit crime often use their religion to excuse their behaviour, and as a reason for rejecting the society in which they live.

Pastors has made several controversial statements while on the executive. These include complaining about high minarets on mosques and warning about the potential introduction of Sharia Law in disadvantaged neighbourhoods in Rotterdam.

This led the CDA to complain he was not adhering to the council's policy of "respect for diversity". He was barred in March from making comments not directly related to his portfolio.

The CDA claimed on Tuesday that it was no longer willing to work with Pastors because he had broken this agreement.

[Copyright Expatica News 2005]

Subject: Dutch news

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