MPs yesterday threw out a vote of no-confidence in two ministers with dual nationality in the first debate on the new government and its plans. Geert Wilders, leader of the anti-immigration party PVV had put forward the motion, arguing that having two passports meant the ministers had divided loyalties.
Wilders had some support from the right-wing liberal party VVD. It’s leader Mark Rutte argued for a ban on dual nationality for all Dutch nationals but did not support the no-confidence vote.
Prime minister Jan Peter Balkenende stressed that there was no question of doubting the loyalty of the ministers: Ahmed Aboutaleb, who also has Moroccan nationality, and Nebahat Albayrak, who has a Turkish passport. The ministers were shining examples of integrated immigrants, he said.
But Balkenende refused to rule out changes in the law allowing ministers to hold two nationalities in the future.
Efforts by the Socialist Party to force an inquiry into Dutch support for the war in Iraq also failed. The motion was supported by the SP, GroenLinks, D66 and pro-animal rights party PvdD.
The new coalition agreement clearly states that there will not be an inquiry, a point which coalition partner Labour (PvdA) was forced to concede during the cabinet formation negotiations. Labour had called for an inquiry during last year’s election campaign.
The tone of yesterday’s debate was mild, commentators said. Prime minister Jan Peter Balkenende used his opening speech to call for dialogue and promised that there would be considerable debate on issues with MPs.
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