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Dutch News
Parliament still against Iraq inquiry? 2/21/2007
20 February 2007

AMSTERDAM — Prominent Labour Party (PvdA) members shared their rather sceptical forecast of the chances that a long-awaited parliamentary inquiry on Iraq might be launched in the new parliament.

The PvdA has been insisting on an inquiry into why the Netherlands was so eager to support the US and Britain in taking military action in Iraq in 2003. These two countries claimed action was necessary because of Iraq''s possession of weapons of mass destruction, weapons which have never been found. The parliaments of the UK and Australia and the American Congress all conducted similar inquiries already some time ago.

There was no inquiry possible by the old parliament because the majority of Christian Democrats (CDA), Liberals (VVD), ChristenUnie, Orthodox Protestant SGP and Pim Fortuyn Party (LPF) were opposed to the measure. The Balkenende governments also opposed it. The PvdA, Socialist party (SP), Green Left (GroenLinks) and Democrats (D66) supported the idea of an investigation.

The new parliament will most probably also have no majority to support the inquiry.

The new coalition accord does not even mention the possibility of an inquiry on Iraq. PvdA leader Wouter Bos suggested it, but faced strong resistance from the CDA.

Senator Erik Jurgens says he will not accept silence on this important issue. He believes more discussion must take place, leading to an inquiry.

Former minister and senator-to-be Klaas de Vries says the same.

Technically, the Senate can also initiate a parliamentary inquiry, but it has not used this right since 1815. The new Senate will come into office after the elections in the provinces on 7 March, but it is also hard to predict whether it will have a majority supporting the idea.

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