Expatica news

Nawijn sounded out for Rotterdam security post

9 March 2004

AMSTERDAM — Former Immigration Minister Hilbrand Nawijn has been sounded out by the party Leefbaar Rotterdam (LR) for the key post as Alderman in charge of Safety and Security in the port city.

Nawijn did not apply for the job on the executive committee of Rotterdam City Council but has indicated that he would be interested in exploring the idea.

The LR registered annoyance Tuesday that the news of its approach to Nawijn has slipped out to the media.

The party has yet to finish reviewing the 70 people who responded to a newspaper advertisement about the vacancy. It will not do much for the LR’s embattled image if the impression emerges that none of these people ever had a real shot at getting the job.

The LR took the unusual step of publicly seeking candidates after the previous incumbent Rabella de Faria stepped down last January when the party indicated it had lost confidence in her.

Led by anti-immigration populist Pim Fortuyn, the LR swept to power in Rotterdam in the local election in March 2002 with 17 seats. It heads a coalition running the city and has three seats in the executive authority. 

Voters were impressed by its tough stance against crime and illegal immigrants. De Faria was responsible for policies designed to tackle the high crime rate and making the streets safe again.

Since its victory in 2002, the LR has been troubled by internal disputes. Three councillors left the LR group prior to De Faria’s departure from the executive council. A recent poll indicated that the LR would drop to five seats if an election was held now.

Recruiting Nawijn to head the anti-crime drive in the city would be a major coup for LR.

Nawijn is currently a deputy in the Lower House of Parliament, or Tweede Kamer, for LR’s sister party, the national LPF. Both parties were led by Fortuyn prior to his assassination in May 2003.

Nawijn was appointed by the LPF to take over the Immigration Ministry, a new department the LPF had lobbied to create. He took a tough line on immigration but the coalition government he was part of collapsed after 87 days due to infighting between two other LPF ministers.

The LPF dropped from 26 to eight seats in the election in January 2004 and did not return to government. Liberal VVD politician Rita Verdonk took over at the Immigration Ministry.

[© Novum Nieuws and Expatica News 2004]

Subject: Dutch news