Would-be PVV ministers defend use of racist terminology

Reinette Klever during questioning. Photo: Remko de Waal ANP

Would-be ministers and junior ministers for the PVV have again been grilled about their backing for far-right policies and theories ahead of the official swearing-in ceremony at the beginning of July.

All prospective new ministers are being questioned by MPs and the PVV candidates in particular have faced concerted questioning about their previous positions.

Reinette Klever, set to take on the post of minister for foreign trade and development aid, was asked repeatedly about her use of the term “omvolking”, first used in the 1930s in Nazi Germany and later adopted by the far right as a conspiracy theory about the deliberate replacement of white populations by “foreigners”, often Muslims.

Klever, who denied using the word herself, but did repost social media messages about it, said the word is a demographic term, not a theory. Like other PVV ministers-to-be last week, said she would not distance herself from the posts but, said she would “work, as minister, for all the Dutch”.

PVV candidate Chris Jansen, set to be junior infrastructure minister, told MPs that he would not take back his support for Geert Wilders’ “fewer Moroccans” comments. He was the only Almere PVV councillor in 2014 not to distance himself from the term.

“I still stand behind the comments,” Jansen said, in answer to Denk MP Ismail el Abassi. “I made those statements in the past as a representative of the people. You will not hear me say them as a minister.”

More than that, he said, he did not want to hear comments like that in the ministry because “it would not ensure a safe working environment”.  

Wilders himself has accused MPs from the “sour left” of trying to damage his top candidates. “They are becoming increasingly popular. They speak the language of the man and woman in the street,” he said. “I am so proud of them.”

Still on the list to be interviewed by MPs is PVV asylum and immigration hopeful Marjolein Faber who was rebuked by outgoing prime minister Mark Rutte in a senate debate about immigration in 2020 for using the term “omvolking”.  She will be questioned at 5 pm on Monday.

First up on Monday is Dirk Beljaarts, poised to become economic affairs minister on behalf of the PVV. According to the Telegraaf, he is embroiled in the bankruptcy of a company set up by the hospitality industry lobby group KHN while he was in charge.  

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