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Netherlands: Woestenberg (advisor to Bishops Conference), “we are not radical, ours is a reasonable country”

“The turnout was unexpectedly high: the bishops too”, in the letter published ten days before the election, “had called people to go to vote, and we are glad to see that people really got involved in the election”: this has been stated to SIR by Daniëlle Woestenberg, senior advisor to the Dutch Bishops Conference for relations between the Church and the State, as she commented on the election with which the Netherlands stopped Wilders’ populist tide (Pvv) and gave their support again to the Liberal Prime Minister, Rutte (Vvd), as well as to the Centre and Centre Left parties. If Europe hoped but did not expect that, for Holland the result did not come as a total surprise: “Wilders has attracted a lot of attention, and his is the second most important party, you can’t forget that”, but the fact is that “the majority of people voted for the Centre parties”, Woestenberg comments. And she explains: after the murder of Pim Fortuy in 2002, “a big portion of Dutch society turned right or left but now they have turned to the centre”. Actually, even the Christian Democrats, the D66, as well as the Green party, have fared well. “This shows that we are not so radical as part of the press described us. Holland is still a reasonable country, with no extremisms. We are not the USA, and we do not have a two-party system. In Holland, one can be a prime minister even with just 20% of votes”.
Another interesting fact that Daniëlle Woestenberg points out is that “the Islamic party Denk received 8 to 9 per cent of votes in the big cities. I wonder how things will go on from there. This is Wilders’ counterpart. Denk speaks for the immigrant community that does not feel taken seriously and really accepted”. The fact the Christian Democrats have achieved good results at the election is a good thing, according to Woestenberg, along with Rutte’s victory, from a strictly Catholic perspective. The problem is all about the D66, a well-known supporter of all of the pro-euthanasia campaign: “So, we will have to wait and see how the parties will coalesce around such issues”.

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