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VVD willing to refurbish mosque

1 June 2007 - The Amsterdam VVD is going to elect the most liberal alderman. The winner gets to decide which volunteer project the VVD council members will work for during one day. If necessary, they are even willing to refurbish a mosque or to place wheel clamps, party leader Eric van der Burg told News from Amsterdam.

I was wondering whether there is a limit to what you are willing to do, in case the winning alderman comes up with a sly proposal?

I am counting on them to choose something like a community centre or a volunteer organisation that can do with some help. Look, if the award is purely harassment of the VVD council members, then we can discuss that, but in principle I am not expecting that. And it is no problem if it regards an organisation the VVD is not involved with. That is no problem at all.

Perhaps I could put some hypothetical examples to you. People are collecting signatures for an investigation of the Dutch involvement in the Iraq war. Suppose they say, come along for a day?

I like that one. Ehm.. Gee, that is difficult. Yes, I think we would do that.

Help traffic wardens place wheel clamps for a day?

No problem.

Cook in a squat restaurant?

Yes, we will do that too.

Help refurbish a mosque, for example the As-Soena mosque [a mosque associated with radicalism]?

A mosque: no problem. The As-Soena mosque: we would have to look into that, but in principle we would do that too, of course.

Within the VVD, people have different views of what it means to be liberal. If it regards your opinion, should we think Rita Verdonk or Mark Rutte?

You should think of the Amsterdam VVD. That means somewhat self-willed, a bit free-thinking too, starting from everybody’s personal responsibility, social justice: those are the things you should think of.

And who should be the winner, who is in your opinion the most liberal alderman?

As council members we have not yet formed our opinion on this. We have asked the visitors of our website and we will take the results into consideration.

So I take it the responses at the website will not automatically decide the outcome?

No that need not automatically be the case, for otherwise for example all GroenLinks members might log in and vote Maarten van Poelgeest. But I do expect them to play a very important role.

When will the winner will be announced?

We will make that public by the middle of June, around the fifteenth.


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