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1/1 Mustapha Laboui leaves district council


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‘Passport control stigmatises Southeast voter’

3 March 2006 – In order to prevent election fraud, all voters in the Southeast district must show their identity card. Or rather, this is what the Leefbaar Zuidoost (LZO) party proposed this week, also on behalf of five other parties. However, the plan was withdrawn, after criticism from the social-democrat PvdA party and doubts about its legal feasibility. Both sides accuse the other of electoral motives.

Four years ago, there were rumours that members or sympathisers of the PvdA would have committed fraud in the Southeast elections. Stacks of poll cards would have been distributed among followers. However, an investigation found no evidence that fraud had actually been committed.

LZO district council member Wim Mos this week introduced a motion on behalf of six parties, requesting the district to ask all voters to present their identity card. This motion was intended to prevent South East from appearing in news stories as a supposed ‘banana republic’ again. Although the motion was co-signed by the CDA, VVD, GroenLinks, SP and Lijst Ampomah-Nketiah parties, the signatories eventually decided not to have the motion put to the vote.

Mos: “We were sensitive to the PvdA argument that this motion might be explained as lack of confidence in the voter. Of course, there is no need to interpret it in such a way, but some voters might experience it as such, and this argument might be used against the signatories in the election campaign”.

Another consideration is that checking identity cards may negatively affect voter turnout. In the United States, it is feared that introducing such a measure may deter especially black and low educated voters.

PvdA party leader Harry Verzijl says that there is no reason to introduce the identity card plan. “The rumours that fraud would have been committed four years ago have not been confirmed. So why confront voters in South East with obligations that do not apply elsewhere? What is more, the chairman of the polling station can already ask voters to present an identity card if there is a specific reason to do so”.

Verzijl suspects LZO of electoral motives: “It can hardly be a coincidence that they introduce this motion at this specific moment, on the eve of the elections”. Incidentally, Verzijl had the impression that LZO was internally divided on the issue. “If you have such broad support for your motion, I would say: have it put to the vote. But they were afraid that their new members would have voted against it”. He refers to three ethnic council members who recently left the PvdA, GroenLinks and VVD parties to join LZO.

According to Mos, these are ‘unsubstantiated conjectures’. He is further of the opinion that it is commendable that a majority for a certain decision is sensitive to the arguments of a minority. “This should be the case more often, certainly in the politics of Amsterdam South East”.

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