Netherlands: Deportation order prompts prompts CDA political crisis

31 October 2011
De Volkskrant

, 31 October 2011

“CDA will have to save face”, headlines De Volkskrant. The Christian-democratic party, a member of the Netherlands liberal-led coalition, has been destabilised by the fate of an 18-year-old Angolan, who has been refused asylum. The CDA’s Minister for Immigration and Asylum Affairs, Gerd Leers, has decided that the young man will have to leave the Netherlands — a country where he has lived with a Dutch foster family since the age of nine — arguing that his situation “is not sufficiently moving” to justify the exceptional granting of a residency permit.

The affair has divided the CDA to the point where, on 30 October, close to 85% of the party voted to back a resolution stipulating that “the deportation of unaccompanied minors is not desirable, and does not correspond to the principles of the CDA”. The text, which contradicts government policy and the party’s programme, has highlighted a rift in the ranks of the CDA.

The left-wing daily remarks that “a year after the political leap without a safety net” represented by participation in a government supported by populist Geert Wilders, the CDA “has found itself in a bottomless pit”, which is reflected by its position in the polls. For a Trouw columnist, the affair has demonstrated a “political powerlessness that will be disastrous for confidence in the state”. The CDA will have to “take charge of the situation [...] but it will not succeed in its current cooperation with PVV”.