Geert Wilders’ PVV will not support efforts to allow local authorities to decide whether or not to sanction Sunday trading out of deference to the fundamentalist Christian party SGP, it emerged on Thursday afternoon.
Liberal party D66 and the left-wing greens GroenLinks have drawn up their own draft legislation which would take responsibility for Sunday trading decisions away from national government.
Labour and the pro-animal party have already agreed to support it, and the backing of the anti-Islam party would give the measure a majority of one in the lower house.
However, the PVV, which is not a member of the government but has agreed to support it on economic issues, said it would vote against the bill, even though it thinks shopkeepers should have a free choice because it does not want to risk damaging the coalition.
‘We need [the SGP] support in the upper and lower houses of parliament,’ PVV MP Dion Graus is quoted as saying by news agency ANP. ‘It is both desirable and necessary to keep the political alliance intact to improve the Netherlands and the corporate climate.’
The coalition plus PVV is unlikely to have a majority in the senate and will need SGP support to pass controversial legislation.
Opposition MPs said the move meant Graus was acknowledging the SGP is a second alliance partner for the minority government.
The party, which opposes votes for women and says homosexuality as a sin, regards Sunday as a day of rest in line with Biblical principles.
During the debate, Labour MP Sharon Dijksma pointed out this is the fourth time the PVV has broken an electoral promise. The party has agreed to support an increase in the pension age, buy a second JSF fighter jet and privatise public transport in the big cities, all of which conflict with the party’s manifesto, she said.
At the moment, towns and cities have to prove they enjoy ‘substantial’ tourism to allow shops to open for more than 12 Sundays a year.
Small shopkeepers happy with the Sunday shopping status quo
Town told to close shops on Sunday because it is not touristy
Christians, Socialists vote to tighten Sunday shopping rules
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