Expatica news

MP on collision course with VVD leader

31 August 2004

AMSTERDAM — Liberal VVD parliamentary leader Jozias van Aartsen has reportedly threatened to eject outspoken MP Geert Wilders from the party if he does not moderate his right-wing statements.

Newspaper De Volkskrant reported on Tuesday that Van Aartsen told Wilders last week that he must conform to the party line. The VVD leader has refused to comment, but admitted he has often had discussions with Wilders.

A VVD spokesman also refused to comment, but said a pamphlet Wilders wrote in co-operation with party colleague Gert-Jan Oplaat urging for more right-wing VVD policies will be discussed during a weekend meeting of MPs starting on Friday.

But anonymous sources have claimed that Van Aartsen gave Wilders an ultimatum last week that he must moderate his public statements or rescind his VVD party membership. He has reportedly been accused of undermining Van Aartsen and party MPs.

Wilders — who has been characterised by radical statements, particularly regarding the Islamic faith and combating international terrorism — was unavailable for comment on Tuesday.

The MP presented his party manifesto in July, claiming that the VVD needed to become more right-wing otherwise it would face political death.

The pamphlet said Turkey should not be admitted to the European Union and that subsidies for developing nations should be reduced by 50 percent, news agency ANP reported. Furthermore, he urged for tougher jail terms and a harsher line with Muslims.

Back in February, Wilders spoke to weekly magazine HP/De Tijd, complaining about the cautious approach adopted by other VVD MPs. Wilders said his colleague MPs were “grey mice”.

In the same interview, he urged for a ban to be imposed on Muslim headscarves, suggesting they should be left flapping on the Malieveld park in The Hague. He also believes immigrant culture is backward and has called on immigrants to assimilate instead of integrate.

Wilders’ own party has not escaped criticism either. The outspoken MP said in January that the VVD resembled a home for the elderly.

Despite this, Wilders has also indicated that he wants to continue operating within the party’s parliamentary faction, but it remains to be seen whether he will gain the necessary support this weekend.

[Copyright Expatica News 2004]

Subject: Dutch news