The fundamentalist Protestant party SGP is taking part in the local elections in March in Amsterdam – with a woman heading the list of hopeful councillors.
Paula Schot, who is 24, is only the second woman to lead an SGP list. A university graduate who works for a private business school while studying for a master’s degree, Schot describes herself as a ‘typically modern SGP woman.’
The SGP believes in a fundamentalist interpretation of the Bible and that the Netherlands should be governed ‘entirely on the basis of the ordinances of God’. This means that women and men should have separate roles and, until recently, that women should not play an active role in politics.
The party was told by the Supreme Court in 2010 that it had to stop refusing to allow women to stand for parliament as MPs. That decision was later upheld in the European Court of Human Rights.
Despite picking a woman, the SGP is unlikely to win a seat on Amsterdam city council – in the 2017 national elections the party picked up just 687 votes in Amsterdam and will need at least 6,000 to have a councillor at city hall.
The CDA, with just one seat, is currently the only religious party with a toe-hold in the capital.
Meanwhile, one of the prospective councillors for BIJ1, the party set up by television presenter and campaigner Sylvana Simons, has pulled out of the March election in Amsterdam after coming under intense media scrutiny.
Cailin Kuit had claimed to have worked as a psychiatrist but was unable to prove her statement and has now withdrawn. A second BIJ1 candidate, Bob Schoute, has also left the party list for personal reasons.
The local elections take place on March 21.