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18/1 Palestine at the Jewish Historical Museum

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16/1 Committee: 7 districts by 2010

15/1 Soldiers may attend Afghanistan debate after all

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14/1 Youth for Christ to republish vacancies

13/1 Paintings of the Zuidas

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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

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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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Karabulut’s rapid rise in politics

6 September 2006 – Sadet Karabulut, representative of the Socialist Party (SP), may become an MP at the end of this year. As a new council member, she criticised the way in which inspections are carried out in the homes of social assistance recipients. “At the national level, I can do much more for the Amsterdammers”.

Karabulut was elected council member in March. Before that, she was a board member of the Turkish workers’ federation DIDF, an organisation that has a visible presence at many demonstrations, and she was coordinator of drugs policies at the Zuidoost district. With a fifteenth position on the list, she stands a realistic chance of being elected.

The swift move to The Hague was not really foreseen, Karabulut says. “I find it difficult to leave Amsterdam. It is a terrific city. But the party asked me to stand as a candidate for Parliament. And at the national level, I can do much more for the Amsterdammers”.

One of the terrains where she feels limited in what she can do as a council member is anti-poverty policies. “You are stuck with national rules and budgets. When you want to do something more for people with low incomes, people will say that the municipality must abstain from income policies”.

At the national level, more can be done: “Our programme says that the social minimum must be raised by ten percent. People with low incomes have a hard time as a consequence of the policies of the current government”.

On other terrains as well, this government’s policies are destructive, finds Karabulut. For example, the ‘Muslim bashing’ should stop. Further, youth policies should offer young people perspective rather than put young people who have done nothing wrong in boot camps, as the current government wants to do with young unemployed people who are not in school.

During the past months, Karabulut has sharply criticised the inspections of social assistance recipients’ homes. Many people feel that these inspections are humiliating and intimidating. The ombudsman called them ‘inappropriate’.

Karabulut put her teeth into the issue. “I thought, you cannot be serious. It was all presented as one big experiment, it was very untransparent. Meanwhile, complaints were coming in. Of course you must get the people who commit fraud, but innocent people should not suffer as a result”.

In response to the criticism, Alderman Ahmed Aboutaleb promised to improve various aspects of the information provided and the procedures. “That is good; it was much needed as well. I would have liked to discuss the principles behind it as well, but they evaded that discussion by saying that the inspections are within the law. Fortunately, that issue will be taken to court soon”.

According to the most recent polls, the SP will get 14 or 16 seats in Parliament. Karabulut: “I am confident that I am standing for a safe seat, I am counting on seventeen seats for the SP. Of course we have to wait and see; the voters make the final decision. But I am very optimistic”.

“It is quite exciting, until recently I had no idea that I would stand as a candidate for Parliament”, says Karabulut. “But then, a year and a half ago I really did not foresee that I would become a council member”.

More: Elections


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