Netherlands : Caught between Geert Wilders and holy joes

24 May 2011
De Volkskrant

, 24 May 2011

The Dutch government now depends on a "double crutch", writes De Volkskrant in the wake of elections to the Senate. Since the formation in 2010 of the coalition between the Liberals (VVD) and Christian Democrats (CDA), the coalition’s majority in the lower house depends on the populist Geert Wilders’ PVV. Having won only 37 of 75 seats in the upper hourse, the coalition now needs the support of the ultra-conservative Protestants the SGP, (Reformed Political Party), which refuses to field women in elections. Prime Minister Mark Rutte "may carry on, but must tread very cautiously," writes De Volkskrant. To the demands from the PVV on immigration and health will be added those from the SGP, such as a law prohibiting blasphemy and closing shops on Sundays – demands that are inconsistent with the liberal ideas espoused by the government.