The right-wing VVD is facing internal divisions over its anti-corruption efforts after a group of councillors in the southern city of Roermond formed a breakaway party.
The split centres on former senator and Roermond council alderman Jos van Rey, who is suspected of corruption. Van Rey has been kept off the candidate’s list for next year’s local council elections because of the integrity issue.
The local VVD chief Dre Peters and Van Rey have set up a new group, the Liberale Partij. The new party is a protest at what they call ‘foundationless statements’ about Van Rey made by various people, including the prime minister Mark Rutte.
‘In this party, no one will be considered guilty until they have been proved to be so,’ the new organisation said in a statement. According to the Telegraaf, a majority of the 11 Roermond VVD councillors have made the move.
The national VVD said in May it planned to introduce an integrity statement which all members hoping to hold office would be asked to sign.
A spokesman for the national party told the Telegraaf the party’s management considers that people who are the subject of a criminal investigation should not be involved in political activities.
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