The controversial issue of a general pardon for long term asylum seekers is to be debated by MPs in an emergency debate today.
Parliament will also discuss the issue of allowing these refugees – who came to the Netherlands before asylum rules were changed in 2003 – to stay in the country while a political decision is made about a general pardon.
A parliamentary majority of one voted in favour of a general pardon at the end of November but the outgoing Christian Democrat/Liberal (VVD) cabinet has rejected the call.
At the time the left-wing parties threatened that they would call for a vote of no confidence in immigration minister Rita Verdonk to force the issue but it is unclear if they will go ahead with this.
Verdonk also came under fire from her own VVD party and Geert Wilders’ anti-immigration PVV for announcing that no extraditions would take place pending today’s debate. They say it is wrong for MPs to force a change in policy before a new government has been installed.
The issue of the asylum seekers is one of the main points of contention in talks between the CDA, which has the most seats in the new parliament, and potential coalition partners.
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