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Dutch News
Politicians lash out at Wilders 2/26/2007
26 February 2007

AMSTERDAM - Geert Wilders, the political leader of the Freedom Party, has provoked the outrage of a large number of politicians in The Hague with his announcement that he plans to submit a motion of no-confidence against state secretaries Ahmed Aboutaleb and Nebahat Albayrak. Wilders wants to submit the motion on Thursday during the parliamentary debate on the government statement, De Volkskrant reports.

André Rouvoet, ChristenUnie leader and member of the new government alongside Aboutaleb and Albayrak, says Wilders'' statements went "beyond parliamentary standards of decency." Henk Kamp (Liberal VVD) thinks that the two state secretaries set a good example. "If you antagonise people it can come back at you like a boomerang," Kamp said. MP Mirjam Sterk (Christian democrat CDA) said Wilders was engaging in "crude politics."

Wilders said again in an interview with the NRC Handelsblad this weekend that Aboutaleb and Albayrak should not be able to serve in government because of their status as dual nationals. Aboutaleb, the new state secretary for Social Affairs, holds both Dutch and Moroccan nationality, while Albayrak, in charge of immigration policy in the new government, holds a Turkish passport in addition to a Dutch one.

Aboutaleb responded laconically to Wilders'' plans. "It is perfectly within their rights," he said at a party conference in Veendam. But he added that this kind of motion is usually submitted against politicians who have done something wrong. Aboutaleb and Albayrak have not yet taken any official action as they were just sworn in last Thursday.

This was the second time in three days that Wilders sought confrontation with the new cabinet. At the end of last week he attacked new Minister for Integration Ella Vogelaar after she said she did not support an absolute ban on the wearing of burqas. Vogelaar feels that garments that conceal the face should only be banned in public functions and in positions that involve a lot of contact with the public, like jobs in healthcare or education.

Wilders subsequently announced plans to submit a motion to ban burqas.

The electorate seems to be rewarding Wilders for the commotion he has stirred up. A poll from Maurice de Hond this last weekend puts the Freedom Party at 14 seats, five more than it actually holds in Parliament at the moment.

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