The number of signatories to a petition by Christian Democrats against the involvement of Geert Wilders and his anti-Islam PVV party in any government has reached 333.
Since the petition was published in Trouw on Thursday, the number of signatories doubled from an initial 44 to 100 in one day. By Friday afternoon it had reached 333.
The signatories want the party to stop negotiating with the PVV and the Liberal VVD for a minority government supported in parliament by Wilders. They say the ideology of the PVV is ‘against the Dutch constitution and a threat to our democratic society’.
A spokesman for party leader Maxime Verhagen told the press on Thursday that Verhagen understands the concerns of the party members, but added: ‘We are only at the beginning of negotiations and it’s the result that matters’.
A special party conference is scheduled for the end of August when Verhagen will explain to party members what sort of support Wilders is offering and what he wants in return. But the signatories, who include local politicians and former MPs and mayors, are not prepared to wait.
According to historian Wouter Beekers, who initiated the petition, Christian Democrats will tend to accept what Verhagen says at the conference and action must be taken now, reports the Volkskrant.
It is most unusual for Christian Democrats to make any criticism of their party public, particularly in the form of a mass demonstration. But many members are still keeping silent.
Some, like Jaap de Hoop Scheffer, have already criticised the action. The former Nato general secretary told the Volkskrant he would not be joining ‘that herd of old elephants’. In his opinion, former politicians always think they know best.
Thank you for donating to DutchNews.nl
The DutchNews.nl team would like to thank all the generous readers who have made a donation in recent weeks. Your financial support has helped us to expand our coverage of the coronavirus crisis into the evenings and weekends and make sure you are kept up to date with the latest developments.
DutchNews.nl has been free for 14 years, but without the financial backing of our readers, we would not be able to provide you with fair and accurate news and features about all things Dutch. Your contributions make this possible.