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Diasporian News of Thursday, 10 June 2010


Election results in Netherlands: The diaspora worried

Following the legislative election results in the Netherlands, Radio Netherlands Worldwide wanted to hear the reaction of the African Diaspora in the country. Three representatives do not hide their concerns about the breakthrough of the right wing populist party, the PVV led by Geert Wilders.

"You understand that as a foreigner, I can feel especially threatened if the winning party (note: the VVD, which has one more seat than the Labour party, PvdA in parliament) is going to work with a party like the PVV which does not hide its position vis-à-vis foreigners, mainly Muslims. I am not Muslim but the position of the party worries me" says André Nkeshimana, president of Izere, an association for the Burundian Diaspora in the Netherlands.

The precipitous decline of outgoing Prime Minister Jan-Peter Balkenende’s Christian Democratic party (CDA) has created the surprise of these elections on Wednesday.

"The result is really impressive, since the competition was in full swing among the small parties during the campaign. These elections were for most of them the opportunity to win many seats in parliament. This is exactly what the PVV has been able to achieve and even become the biggest winner of this election, "said Sunny Ofehe, president of Hope for Niger Delta Campaign in the Netherlands.

The PVV is now the third largest political party in the country behind the liberal center-right VVD, and the Labour Party, the PvdA, winning an extra 15 seats in parliament. This sudden rise of the PVV is somewhat worrying.

“It is a huge blow to all immigrants and especially for Africans, when we know that some parties like the PVV are radically opposed to the arrival of new immigrants. I am disappointed that the PvdA could not get more seats." says Mahad Somalia Musa, president of the association of the Somali Diaspora, Nedsom.

But PVV is not the only party to generate fears within the diaspora.

"The VVD does not necessarily meet my expectations, especially regarding its international policies, when it says that assistance to developing countries should be reduced. It's against my beliefs because I think that not only it must be increased but also the international operations should be broaden so that the Netherlands does not isolate itself internationally," reflects Andrew Nkeshimana.

The VVD leading with 31 seats and the PvdA just behind with 30 seats is not the easiest of coalitions.

"A left-wing coalition including for example the PvdA, the Green Party and the Socialist Party seems to be more favourable to people of African origin. But given the current situation, it seems more than difficult," sighs Mahad Musa.

But others like Augustina Osei, a member of the PvdA and a native of Ghana, are less pessimistic: "It is true that the rising of the PVV and VVD is a problem but I am still very happy that the PvdA could still achieve such a performance. We were very scared to score badly."