Dutch Hope: Minority Government Backed by Wilders
Dutch Queen Beatrix's maneuver to keep Geert Wilders, the winner of the recent elections in the Netherlands, out of the government seems to have backfired. The Queen had pushed for a leftist coalition of the centrist Liberal Party, VVD, with Labour, the Greens and the Left-Liberals, but early last week the coalition negotiations between the VVD and the three leftist parties collapsed in disagreement over economic and welfare issues. The Dutch have now placed their hope in a "Danish-style" center-right minority government with the parliamentary support of Mr. Wilders's PVV party.
Last weekend, a poll indicated that 63% of the Dutch are in favor of a "Danish option." Only 20% favor the leftist government which the Queen initially wanted.
The Dutch Constitution grants the Queen the power to appoint a person (or persons) of her choice to initiate and direct negotiations for the formation of government coalitions. Queen Beatrix is known to dislike Geert Wilders, the winner of the general elections on June 9. These elections resulted in a clear victory for the right, with the VVD becoming the largest party, with 31 of the 150 seats in the Dutch House of Representatives, and the PVV, the Freedom Party of Geert Wilders, emerging as the biggest winner with 24 seats, up from only 9 seats before the elections. Together with the Christian-Democrat CDA (21 seats), the VVD and the PVV can form a center-right coalition which would have 76 of the 150 seats. They can also count on the support of the small right-wing Protestant party SGP (2 seats).
The Queen's initial decision to push for a center-left coalition instead of a center-right one, has made her unpopular with a significant part of the Dutch population. The open criticism of Beatrix, along with polls indicating that in the event of new elections Wilders' PVV would become the biggest party, with 35 seats, has caused Queen Beatrix to suddenly double back. Following the collapse of the coalition talks for a center-left government, she appointed her close friend and advisor, the former Christian-Democrat Prime Minister (1982-1994) Ruud Lubbers, with the task of coordinating the coalition negotiations on her behalf.
At first, this looked like another royal option for the Left. Mr. Lubbers, who resigned as UN High Commissioner for Refugees (2001-2005) after accusations of sexual harassment, is a leftist Christian-Democrat. He is an outspoken critic of Mr. Wilders. Before the elections he publicly advised the CDA leadership not to consider governing with the PVV. After his appointment by the Queen, however, Mr. Lubbers made the surprising announcement that VVD, PVV and CDA had to open negotiations about a center-right coalition.
The Dutch media speculate that Mr. Lubbers, who is known to be a shrewd political operator, is secretly aiming for a collapse of such talks. This would then lead to a third round of coalition talks between VVD, CDA and Labor, resulting in a centrist coalition of these three traditional Dutch establishment parties. If Mr. Lubbers and the CDA can spin events in such a way that the blame for a failure to put together a center-right coalition can be laid on Mr. Wilders, the Dutch political establishment would be able to deny that the formation of a center-right coalition was thwarted by the Monarch and the Christian-Democrats.
Last Saturday, the Christian-Democrat parliamentarians followed Mr. Lubbers and unanimously approved a decision to allow their leader, Maxime Verhagen, to start "informal talks" with the VVD and the PVV. Most CDA politicians, mindful of Mr. Lubbers' earlier warning not to talk with the PVV, are skeptical about the chances of forming a government coalition with Mr. Wilders, whom they accuse of Islamophobia and populism.
The liberal VVD, however, is optimistic. VVD politicians point out that if a coalition with Mr. Wilders proves impossible, it might nevertheless be possible to form a minority coalition with the CDA, which, as Mr. Wilders has already hinted, might have the support of Wilders' PVV in Parliament. The Dutch media refer to this option for a center-right minority government as "the Danish option." Since 2001, Denmark has been governed by a center-right minority government of Conservatives and Liberals, which is supported by the Danish People's Party in Parliament, in exchange for strict immigration policies and opposition to Islamization of the country. In Denmark, this option has proved very successful. Mr. Wilders, who in the past years has often been to Denmark for talks with his friends of the DPP, is familiar with the "Danish option."
The "informal" talks between VVD, PVV and CDA began on Monday afternoon. If Mr. Wilders proves shrewd enough to outfox Mr. Lubbers, the Dutch might get a minority government of VVD and CDA, supported by the PVV. Many Dutch hope that this will be the case.
Among the voters of VVD, PVV and CDA the support for the "Danish option" is as high as 80%.
Comment on this item
by Richard Kemp
Would General Allen -- or any other general today -- recommend contracting out his country's defenses if it were his country at stake? Of course not.
The Iranian regime remains dedicated to undermining and ultimately destroying the State of Israel. The Islamic State also has Israel in its sights and would certainly use the West Bank as a point from which to attack, if it were open to them.
There can be no two-state solution and no sovereign Palestinian Arab state west of the Jordan, however desirable those things might be. The stark military reality is that Israel cannot withdraw its forces from the West Bank.
Fatah leaders ally themselves with the terrorists of Hamas, and, like Hamas, they continue to reject the every existence of the State of Israel.
If Western leaders actually want to help, they should use all diplomatic and economic means to make it clear to the Palestinians that they will never achieve an independent and sovereign state while they remain set on the destruction of the State of Israel.
by Louis René Beres
The Palestine Liberation Organization [PLO], forerunner of today's Palestinian Authority, was founded in 1964, three years before Israel came into the unintended control of the West Bank and Gaza. What therefore was the PLO planning to "liberate"?
Why does no one expect the Palestinians to cease all deliberate and random violence against Israeli civilians before being considered for admission to statehood?
On June 30, 1922, a joint resolution of both Houses of Congress of the United States endorsed a "Mandate for Palestine," confirming the right of Jews to settle anywhere they chose between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea. This is the core American legacy of support for a Jewish State that President Obama now somehow fails to recall.
A sovereign state of Palestine, as identified by the Arabs -- a Muslim land occupied by "Palestinian" Arabs -- has never existed; not before 1948, and not before 1967. From the start, it was, and continues to be, the Arab states -- not Israel -- that became the core impediment to Palestinian sovereignty.
by Timon Dias
It looks as if this new law is meant to serve as a severe roadblock to parties that would like to dismantle the EU in a democratic and peaceful way from within.
A rather dull semantic trick pro-EU figures usually apply, is calling their opponents "anti-Europe."
by Alan M. Dershowitz
by Soeren Kern
Austria has emerged as a major base for radical Islam and as a central hub for European jihadists to fight in Syria.
The proposed revisions would, among other changes, regulate the training and hiring of Muslim clerics, prohibit the foreign funding of mosques, and establish an official German-language version of the Koran to prevent its "misinterpretation" by Islamic extremists.
Muslims would be prohibited from citing Islamic sharia law as legal justification for ignoring or disobeying Austrian civil laws.
Leaders of Austria's Muslim community counter that the contemplated new law amounts to "institutionalized Islamophobia."
Official statistics show that nearly 60% of the inhabitants of Vienna are immigrants or foreigners. The massive demographic and religious shift underway in Austria, traditionally a Roman Catholic country, appears irreversible.