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Dutch News
Verdonk leaves in style 2/16/2007
AMSTERDAM – The last debate between Integration Minister Rita Verdonk and Parliament ended in style on Thursday evening. During a chaotic and confrontational discussion the outgoing minister managed to get her way in the end.

With powerful words Verdonk managed to dissuade a majority in parliament from voting for a proposed bill that she no longer agreed with because of the many amendments to which it had been subject since she first submitted it.

“A bit bizarre,” is how the minister described the course of events after she left the assembly hall with a triumphant smile. She called it “quite a turbulent” final debate.

The parliamentary factions made it clear that this last debate was not a pleasant one.

Parliament discussed the Law on Dutch Citizenship, the issue of dual nationality has been left hanging once again.

The debate centred on a bill submitted by the VVD minister herself. Parliament subsequently passed a few amendments to it, as a result Verdonk and her party were no longer happy with the form it had taken.

Since the politician has also been serving as MP since the last general election, the remarkable situation arose that Verdonk as MP had to vote against a proposal she herself had introduced as minister.

She pulled out all the stops in order to avoid that. At the point when a majority in parliament indicated on Thursday evening that it was ready to vote, the minister requested a recess.

Speaker of Parliament Gerdi Verbeet turned down the request, Verdonk announced that she wanted to withdraw the motion. “That is not possible. Only the queen can do that, you may not,” Verbeet declared.

A show of power ensured however that Verdonk got her way in the end, said Christian democrat CDA MP Mirjam Sterk in retrospect. “Everything she does is one big power play. When she used the term “unacceptable,” we had no desire to continue with the game any longer.”

Deputy faction leader for the CDA Maxime Verhagen wanted to avoid further “bickering” and in the end proposed leaving the matter for the new government to decide.

When the PvdA changed its tune as well, there was suddenly a parliamentary majority against voting for the bill. As Verdonk had wanted from the beginning.

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