New controversy around Verdonk and asylum seekers

Controversial immigration minister Rita Verdonk refuses to accept the wishes of parliament to suspend the extradition of long-term asylum seekers whose applications for residency permits have been turned down, says the Volkskrant on today’s front page.

According to the paper, Verdonk and parliament disagree on the political consequences of the minister’s stance. The Labour (PvdA) initiative for a ‘general pardon’ for the asylum seekers won by a parliamentary majority of just one vote last night. The Christian Democrats, anti-immigration PVV, fundamentalist Christian SGP and Verdonk’s own Liberal (VVD) party, voted against.
Today the cabinet will discuss what the Volkskrant calls the ‘impasse’ that has emerged on the first working day of the new parliament following the November 22 elections.
The paper claims that the left-wing parties foresee the possibility of a vote of no confidence in Verdonk which would result in her resignation. And the Telegraaf quotes Labour leader Wouter Bos as saying there would be an ‘extremely difficult’ situation if Verdonk refuses to carry out the wishes of parliament.
But Verdonk remains ‘fiercely opposed’ to a ‘general pardon’, says the Telegraaf. She considers it ‘unusual and undesirable’ that parliament is trying to force a decommissioned cabinet into accepting new policy before a new coalition government has been formed.
Meanwhile the Christian Democrats are already trying to find a compromise, the paper says. The party, which won the most seats in the election, wants to avoid a battle which will hinder the current coalition negotiations.
It is the second time this week that the minister has hit the headlines. Earlier this week she dominated the media with her coup for the VVD leadership. The attempt failed and, despite some speculation that she might abandon politics, Verdonk agreed to accept Mark Rutte’s leadership.

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