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11/1 Jurists want to stay in Oudemanhuispoort

8/2 Mayor’s portrait

8/2 Websites for social cohesion

7/2 Spreading tourism proceeds with difficulty

7/2 GroenLinks on districts: Be a man

6/2 Zuideramstel opens new office on Sabbath

5/2 The truth about integration

4/2 Wilders has little support on Amsterdam

3/2 Elite involved in neighbourhood

2/2 Johnnie Walker avoids taxes in Amsterdam

1/2 Rotterdam to tinker with district councils as well

31/1 Wooden rowing boats to disappear from Amstel

31/1 ZeeburgTV launched

27/1 Privacy activists to mess up loyalty card system

27/1 A few were still coughing, but that was an act

27/1 Chrisis in de Baarsjes

26/1 Youth have positive view of districts

24/1 Action groups call for Carmel and Jaffa boycott

24/1 PvdA members dismiss plan for districts

23/1 KLM takes on crisis with new uniform

23/1 District office not squatted

21/1 Merge districts

20/1 Closing squat bar Vrankrijk not necessary

20/1 Cleaners welcome new Schiphol director

18/1 Palestine at the Jewish Historical Museum

18/1 What is the right size for a district?

17/1 PvdA Oost against fewer districts

16/1 Committee: 7 districts by 2010

15/1 Soldiers may attend Afghanistan debate after all

15/1 Bait bike leads to arrest

14/1 Youth for Christ to republish vacancies

13/1 Paintings of the Zuidas

13/1 New Youth for Christ contoversy

11/1 Social cohesion initiative raises eyebrows

10/1 Fewer districts in 2010

10/1 Zuidas: People feel that we are losers

9/1 Fun on the ice - but not for all

9/1 Supermarket coupon fraud thwarted

9/1 I Amsterdam must remain exclusive

8/1 Use term Apartheid in every discussion

8/1 No city kiosk in Amsterdam yet

7/1 Snow

7/1 Fatima Elatik to run Zeeburg

7/1 Municipal managers to return to shop floor

4/1 Police: take photo of strange people

3/1 Gaza protest criticises politicians

1/1 Thousands to protest against attacks on Gaza

1/1 Mustapha Laboui leaves district council


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Hirsi Ali affair: new council member

19 May 2006 –Laetitia Griffith of the conservative VVD-party will succeed Ayaan Hirsi Ali as a Member of Parliament. Hirsi Ali decided to step down after integration minister Rita Verdonk declared her Dutch nationality to be invalid. Griffith’s place in the municipal council will be taken by Bas van ’t Wout. “Let’s be honest, this is not the most popular government ever”, he said to News from Amsterdam earlier.

Griffith has been an MP since 2003, but came to Amsterdam to lead the local VVD in this year’s municipal elections. She was also considered a candidate to become alderwoman in a new local government, but the VVD lost one seat and the social-democrats choose to govern the city with the green party.

The disappointing election results were interpreted by some as a failure of Griffith, but may also have been caused by the policies of the national VVD. For example, the local VVD was hoping to win the votes of ethnic entrepreneurs, but these wanted nothing to do with the party of integration minister Rita Verdonk.

As a candidate for the party leadership of the VVD, Verdonk is popular among proponents of a tough stance on immigrants. Her main opponent is Mark Rutte, who represents a more liberal current within the VVD. New council member Bas van ’t Wout is currently his political assistant.

Van ’t Wout was also the leader of the VVD campaign for the Amsterdam municipal elections. At that time, when asked by News from Amsterdam, he denied that harsh statements by Verdonk were hurting the local campaign.

However, he did distance himself somewhat from the national government in which his party is represented: “Let’s be honest, this is not the most popular government ever. But in Amsterdam we are doing fine in the polls. Voters appreciate the role we are playing at the local level”.

This week, in a move considered by many as overly rigid, Verdonk declared Hirsi Ali’s Dutch nationality to be invalid, because she had lied about her name and date of birth in the application. This caused Hirsi Ali to accelerate her departure to the USA, where she will join the right-wing American Enterprise Institute. The affair was characterised as a ‘victory for intolerance’ in an editorial in today’s New York Times.

Earlier this week, the local VVD expressed careful criticism of Verdonk’s treatment of the Hirsi Ali affair. The party expressed it’s ‘surprise’ at her action but also called for calmness. The Amsterdam wing of the VVD is generally considered to be relatively left-leaning in comparison with the rest of the party.

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