Last Thursday saw the Second Chamber session entirely devoted to the new cabinets "declaration of intent" (regeringsverklaring). As promised Wilders' PVV tabled a motion of no-confidence against Albayrak and Aboutaleb(1), which rather unexpectedly was soundly defeated. Only the PVV fraction voted for the motion. Not even the VVD (conservative liberals), who had been making noises indicating their agreement, in principle, with the notion that members of government should have one nationality only: The Dutch nationality.
That dual nationalities for members of government are a problem, despite the soothing noises made in parliament and the press over the last days, is proven by the particulars of Turkish born Albayraks situation:
In 2006, Albayrak was put second on the PvdA list of candidates in the general election. It looked as though she might have to withdraw because she did not speak out unequivocally on the Armenian genocide by Turkey around 1915. Two PvdA candidate MPs did have to withdraw, but the press let the matter rest after Albayrak said in Trouw newspaper that "it is for lawyers and historians to decide" whether the event "meets precisely the definition of genocide in international law."But all is not lost, it seems. Mark Rutte, fraction leader of the VVD, although not wanting to block the appointment of both State Secretaries, wants parliament to come up with concrete legislation to prevent the appointment of ministers of state secretaries with a double nationality. Even PM Jan-Peter Balkenende did not rule out that a dual nationality for members of government might be made impossible in the future.
Albayrak cannot easily recognise the genocide, if she would wish to, because this is forbidden in Turkey.
That such a legislation might be essential to keep our government from unwanted influence from foreign powers was illustrated today with the rather ehhhm... surprising?... jaw-dropping?... news (NL) that PvdA (labour) MP of Moroccan descent (thus having a dual nationality) Khadija Arib is an advisor to the king of Morocco himself. She serves on a council that aims to guard and strengthen the Moroccan identity of ex-pats (including those that were never born in Morocco). Another aim is to recruit highly placed functionaries of Moroccan descent in, amongst others, the Netherlands for the founding of a High Council that would advise the king and the Moroccan government.
Arib doesn't see any problems combining this position with her membership of Dutch parliament. And she doesn't foresee any conflict of loyalties:
I am not loyal to the Netherlands, I am not loyal to Morocco. I am loyal to my principles.Which seem to include being sworn in as an MP, swearing loyalty the Netherlands, and thinking nothing of it. Such fine principles. No wonder she's a Labour MP (2).
Anyway, this story would probably have been expediently buried, had it not been for the PVV's unchaining of the debate on dual nationalities in government. That and the fact that both CDA and VVD are seriously considering settling this matter along the lines first suggested by Wilders seem to spell out a small victory against handing over the Netherlands to the hordes. Wilders may have lost the motion, he seem truly to have won the debate. Who'd have thunk it?
(1) I have to hand it to Aboutaleb, though: He reacted with more grace to Wilders' motion then any of parliaments fractions:
Aboutaleb responded laconically to Wilders' plans. "It is perfectly within their rights," he said at a party conference in Veendam.(2) Yes, I know, gratuitous dig at the left. But riddle me this: Why are all three leading roles in this post reserved for PvdA members?
[UPDATE001] Esther of Islam in Europe is also blogging the Khadija Arib story