Friday, 19 April 2013 - 09:21
After a full day's debate on the death of the Russian asylum seeker Alexander Dolmatov, State Secretary Teeven suddenly turned the issue on himself. "I don’t want to be a State Secretary with the benefit of the doubt," the VVD politician said. "I am not interested in that. That's what I just want to say." It was a thinly veiled warning toward coalition partner PvdA. PvdA, amid rising tensions, did not seem to want to lag behind on the rising criticism on Teeven. Shortly before the suspension for a third (!) term, he made it clear to them that they were busy causing his resignation and possibly a cabinet crisis would then follow. "I hope I have convinced all your groups," says Teeven. "But if one of the governing parties has doubts, then it's over." He said he had to do great tasks, which could not happen without the full confidence of at least the coalition. While part of the opposition planned a motion of no confidence, the position of D66, CDA, Christian Union and SGP remained unclear at that time. However, the coalition partner (PvdA) stayed on board. "The immigration process requires a whip," said PvdA MP Jeroen Recourt. "But there are two ways: resignation, or take action. The immigration policy is firm but fair, but it also has to be humane. We have agreed how we can reach this and this State Secretary is going to do the job." It seemed that Teeven was on the winning end, but then D66 expressed support for a motion of no confidence of SP, Groenlinks and the Party for the Animals. "This has not been an incident," said MP Gerard Schouw of D66, referring to the mistakes that led to the suicide of the Russian asylum seeker Alexander Dolmatov. "These were structural mistakes." When it was the turn of the ChristenUnie, "Teeven should keep his honor and resign," said leader Slob. "Because an unmistakable signal is given by his resignation: we do not tolerate that the government makes such errors." Eddy Hijum, MP of the CDA, joined him on this. Outwardly Teeven seemed unmoved when he heard the outcome of the vote on the motion of no confidence against him: 48 for, 96 against. VVD leader Halbe Zijlstra said, "This indicates that in this House, there is adequate and complete trust in this State Secretary." All eyes turned to Teeven, but he stayed unresponsive. After the meeting, outside the hall, he spoke to journalists about his final decision: "I'm staying."