Thursday, June 29, 2006

Falls Over
Hirsi Ali

Dutch Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende will hand his resignation to the Queen:

THE centre-right Dutch Government unexpectedly collapsed last night after growing tensions over its notoriously tough immigration minister, “Iron Rita” Verdonk. Jan Peter Balkenende, the Prime Minister, announced that he would hand his resignation to Queen Beatrix today after he failed to heal rifts in his coalition over Ms Verdonk’s decision to strip Ayaan Hirsi Ali, a Somali-born MP and world-renowned critic of Islam, of her passport.

The announcement, which will almost certainly lead to early elections, came moments after three ministers from the tiny D-66 party quit the Cabinet, demanding the resignation of Ms Verdonk.

They wanted to force her out of government for precipitously stripping Ms Hirsi Ali of her Dutch citizenship last month after a television documentary detailed how the Somali-born feminist lied about her family name when she applied for asylum in the Netherlands.

Ms Hirsi Ali, 36, resigned as an MP and announced that she was moving to the US to work for a right-wing think-tank.

On Tuesday Ms Verdonk reversed her decision, restoring Ms Hirsi Ali’s citizenship but leaving her own political credibility in tatters.