Senate leader quits over Wilders’ role at new king’s investiture

The leader of the senate has resigned over claims he kept anti-immigration MP Geert Wilders out of the official escort for king Willem-Alexander during his investiture in the Nieuwe Kerk in Amsterdam.

Earlier this week, the Volkskrant reported that Fred de Graaf used his role as master of ceremonies to keep Wilders away from the new king. Wilders is not only a controversial figure because of his position on Islam. He has also been highly critical of what he called queen Beatrix’s ‘multi-culti’ leanings.

Wilders welcomed De Graaf’s decision to step down, saying it was the only logical decision. ‘The senate chairman should be neutral and this was clearly not the case,’ Wilders is quoted as saying.

De Graaf told the paper he had tried to ensure the escort reflected the make-up of parliament, was divided between men and women and focused on long-serving MPs.

However, he also kept in mind the prospective attention which would be paid to Wilders if he was in close proximity to the king, De Graaf said. Wilders is one of the longest-serving Dutch MPs.

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