Dutch PM clashes with Wilders

Prime Minister Mark Rutte has crossed swords in parliament with populist Freedom Party (PVV) leader Geert Wilders. The PVV has an agreement to support the minority centre-right government from parliament on most issues.

At one point, the two men shouted at each other to “behave normally”. The exchange followed the prime minister objecting to an earlier statement by a PVV MP, calling Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan an “Islamic monkey”.

Mr Rutte also warned the PVV leader against overemphasising the problem of criminality amongst Dutch-Moroccan youths. He told Mr Wilders that this could lead to the alienation of law-abiding and highly qualified members of the Dutch-Moroccan community. Mr Wilders countered that such people should take the criminal members of their community in hand.

The prime minister also made it clear that the government is against holding a referendum on banning the construction of new minarets on mosques in the Netherlands. On Wednesday, the PVV put forward holding such a referendum.

RNW, 22 September 2011