A Dutch lawmaker resigned from his party in protest of its support for banning ritual slaughter, among other issues.
Wim Kortenoeven announced his resignation from the Party for Freedom at a news conference last week in The Hague. Founded in 2005 by Geert Wilders, the party follows an anti-Muslim, pro-Israel policy.
“Regarding ritual slaughter, I came under intense pressure from Wilders to vote against my conscious,” Kortenoeven said.
In 2011, the Party of Freedom voted in favor of a bill to ban ritual slaughter in The Netherlands. Kortenoeven voted against the bill. He was the only party member who defied party discipline. Though passed into law, the Dutch Senate scrapped the ban last month.
Referring to the Party for Freedom’s stated support of individual liberties, Kortenoeven said the party’s stance on ritual slaughter was “inconsistent.” Citing the party’s support for cutbacks in defense, Kortenoeven said the party was not prepared to back up its statements in favor of Israel.
Geert Wilders’ anti-Muslim rhetoric has become the focus of international attention over the past five years. He regularly visits Israel, which he regards as the West’s “first line of defense” against Islam.
Another lawmaker from the party, Marcial Hernandez, announced his resignation along with Kortenoeven. Complaining about strong party discipline, he said North Korea’s Kim Jong-un “could learn something from Wilders.”
The latest polls predict that in elections in September, the Party for Freedom will remain the third largest party with 20 seats in parliament.