Delegates at the Christian Democrat party’s congress in Arnhem have voted in favour of forming a governing alliance involving the anti-Islam PVV.
Some 68% of the 4,000 people present voted in favour of the alliance, but the no vote was higher than many had forecast.
Delegates voted on whether the CDA should accept support from the PVV in order to form a minority government with the right-wing VVD. Many senior CDA members, including a string of former prime ministers, oppose the alliance, arguing that it is against the party’s principles.
Two of the CDA’s 21 MPs are opposed to the deal, which was agreed last week. The VVD, PVV and CDA coalition only controls 76 of the 150 seats in parliament, so any MPs who break ranks threaten the coalition.
Both MPs say they will think about how to vote at Tuesday’s meeting of CDA MPs over the weekend.
Caretaker health minister Ab Klink, who has already quit parliament over the relationship with the PVV, said the result of the vote was ‘substantial’ and opponents could feel vindicated.
Before the vote, party leader Maxime Verhagen made an emotional speech conference. ‘I love this party. I believe in this party,’ Verhagen said.
Verhagen urged the conference to support the agreement. ‘ We should not shirk our responsibilities,’ he said. ‘We should put our shoulders to the wheel, to make the Netherlands a better place… for the CDA and for everyone,’ he said.
Dozens of delegates were given one minute to outline their position on the deal.
‘ I am so sorry that I will have to vote against,’ said another speaker. ‘ But the PVV is a movement, it has no members, no democracy. Everyone can set up their own schools, unless you are a Muslim. That can’t be right.’
‘I am 20, a Rotterdammer, a Muslim and a proud Dutchman,’ said another. ‘How can I convince my friends to vote for the CDA?’
Another Islamic member waved a Koran and a Bible at the conference hall. ‘I promised my son I would be here for him and his classmates,’ the man said.
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.