Netherlands: Christian Democrat leaders face internal revolt against alliance with Wilders

The Dutch centre-right Christian Democratic Appeal (CDA) was facing internal backlash Thursday from members concerned about its decision to hold coalition talks that involve Geert Wilders’ Islamophobic party.

A manifesto released by the group argued against a minority coalition made up of the CDA and the People’s Party for Freedom (VVD) that would rely on the votes of Wilders’ Party for Freedom (PVV), although it would not be a formal part of the new government.

The manifesto, titled “We stand up for our basic rights”, was initiated by 44 CDA activists who are now hoping to receive broad support from their party. They include delegates, professors and local politicians.

They accused Wilders of using his anti-Muslim and anti-Islam policies to turn “a large minority of our population into a scapegoat for almost all of our society’s problems”.

“With that, the PVV threatens not only the freedom of Muslims, but also the basic principles of our constitutional state and the freedom of us all,” they added.

No leading politicians of the CDA have signed up to the manifesto so far, media reports said. But the newspaper Trouw argued that it could now be difficult for CDA leader Maxime Verhagen to secure the party support he needs to back an agreement with Wilders.

DPA, 12 August 2010

Update:  See “Resistance grows among Christian Democrats”, Dutch News, 13 August 2010