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Mayor of Rotterdam is of Moroccan descent; Dutch politics in a flux.

Reader comment on item: Why I Stand with Geert Wilders
in response to reader comment: Rotterdam's moroccan mayor appreciated by Wilders

Submitted by Charles (Netherlands), Jan 25, 2010 at 05:27

Yes Myth, you are right about Mr. Aboutaleb. There is so much going on in this small country, I sometimes don't know where to start (and finish). Aboutaleb is a special story. He started as director of the Gov't sponsored 'FORUM' organisation, which promotes, among other things, multi-culturalism in the NL. After that he became an alderman in Amsterdam voor the laborparty. Shortly after that he became assistant secretary of social affairs in the present cabinet. And, again, shortly after that, he again made a sleek career move and was appointed Mayor for Rotterdam (in the NL, we can not elect our state and local representatives directly; we can only vote once in 4 years on a party; the parties appoint the persons; also, the head of state (= the Queen) appoints local representatives. Its a bit different system from the US and other democratic countries).

Wilders did not agree with his appointment as secretary, because Aboutaleb refused to reject his dual nationality (he has a Moroccon and a Dutch pasport), which, as a statement to all immigrants, should be a signal to assimilate more in the host country, i.e. the NL. His refusal led to a clash in the dutch parlement whereby Wilders verbally attacked Aboutaleb (and another secretary of Turkish descent for the same reason) harshly on this matter. Many voters in the country aggreed with Wilders. But in the parlement (and in the press) it got no following.

In Rotterdam, Wilders has no local political affiliation of his own, because there already is a strong local political party (the 2nd largest at the moment and in the opposition) giving Aboutaleb a very hard time. In Rotterdam there will be local elections in marchhowever, and the polls indicate a big switch for the opposition to become the leading party. This local party has strong political resemblance with Wilders PVV movement, which is not so strange, as it is the old (local) following of murderd Pim Fortuyn, who lived in Rotterdam. This local party ('Leefbaar Rotterdam') has been slugging it out with the old Labor party, of which Aboutaleb is also a member. (That fact alone is a bit bizar: the ruling party also has a Mayor of the same party; this you can see all across the NL by the way).

The old labor party ('Pvda') belongs to the old political elite of the NL, and have been a major force in trying to multi-culturalize the NL in the last 25 years. They bare a heavy responsibility in what has gone bad or astray in the NL.

Wilders is focusing on national politics first however, as that is where the real legal and political power lies ofcourse, and second on local politics. However, he ofcourse has gotten a large local following also, and in most local political settings Wilders would probably take around 25 to 30% (and sometimes even more) of the vote. The problem Wilders has at the moment is trying to steady his ship, and not grow to fast, because he does not want to rock his boat to much, as everything is going very fast , and he has to keep a steady course and focus primarily on the national scene. Everything is very fluid at the moment: elections, a court case, the present Gov't and last but not least, his personal security.

2010 will be a crunch-year however, and wil surpass 2002 by far, is expected. Our small country is (again) getting ready for a lot of political 'rock-'n-roll'.

Many people are holding their breath however, hoping no violence will come from leftish (and/or muslim) radicals, as the assassinations of 2002 and 2004 still loom on the background...


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