Dutch Liberals want coalition with talks anti-Islamic party

The Dutch Liberal leader said he wanted coalition talks with the anti-Islamic Freedom Party, fuelling fears on spreading Islamaphobia across Europe.

Dutch Liberals want coalition with talks anti-Islamic party

 

The Dutch Liberals extended a fresh invitation on Tuesday to the anti-Islamic Freedom Party to discuss forming a coalition government, fuelling fears on spreading Islamaphobia and discrimination against Muslim people across Europe.

Liberal leader Mark Rutte said he wanted to try again to come to a governing agreement with Freedom Party leader Geert Wilders, news agency ANP-Reuters reported.

The right-leaning Liberals won the June 9 election, taking 31 seats in the 150-seat lower house of parliament, while the Freedom Party made the biggest gains and took 24 seats.

Wilders, whose party wants to ban the Koran, the Holy Book of Islam, is a former member of the Liberals who is outspoken in his opposition to Muslim immigrants. He wants to ban all non-Western immigration to the country.

Rutte and Wilders who has been accused of inciting hatred against Muslims held talks in the days after the election, but could not convince the Christian Democrats to join them and form a majority government. No other party would consider holding talks that included Wilders, either.

State broadcaster NOS said Tuesday that Wilders, who faces charges over his anti-Islam remarks, was unlikely to take up the Liberals' new offer unless the Christian Democrats joined the talks as well.

The popularity of Wilders, has dented the image of the Netherlands as a country that has often portrayed itself in the past as a bastion of tolerance.

The new parliament held a debate on Tuesday with Queen Beatrix's first post-election cabinet adviser, Senate member Uri Rosenthal. Wilders complained during the televised debate that his party was being treated like a leper.

Rosenthal has said that he advised the queen a right-leaning government would not be possible. Instead, he suggested a centre or centre-left government. The queen's top adviser, Tjeenk Willink, is now in charge of the cabinet talks.

Before the election, Rutte had said he wanted to have a new government by July 1, taking inspiration from the way a coalition was quickly formed in Britain. All Dutch governments since World War Two have been coalitions, which have taken an average of three months to form.

Reuters

Güncelleme Tarihi: 30 Haziran 2010, 09:08
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