Dutch parliament, govt. reject PVV's "keep Zwarte Piet black" law

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The PVV's legislative proposal to make municipalities only participate in Sinterklaas events in which Zwarte Piet is wearing blackface makeup, could count on almost no support from both the lower house of Dutch parliament and the Dutch government today. Most parties in parliament were against the law and Minister Ronald Plasterk of Home Affairs stated that the bill goes against the Dutch constitution.

According to the SP, Sinterklaas is a living tradition and must be discussed outside the political world. The D66 accused the PVV of being "hypocritical and elitist" with this proposal, which prescribes what Piet should look like exactly. A number of parties called it a publicity stunt, NOS reports.

"This law flouts the Constitution", Plasterk said. "This is not what the government is about. It does not fit in an open democratic society." According to him, only North Korea has prescriptions like this one the PVV is proposing, according to the Telegraaf. 

Most of the political parties agreed that the kids' festival is important, but can't understand why the PVV wants to use a law to make the government responsible for what Zwarte Piet should look like. "The population determines the appearance, not the government." the VVD said.

PVV parliamentarian, and the initiator of the bill, Martin Bosma, refutes the criticism. He continues to emphasize that the PVV wants to protect this children's festival and keep it from being modified by politicians and television producers. According to the PVV, Ministers and Mayors are listening to a small minority who feel that Zwarte Piet is racist and discriminatory.

The Tweede Kamer, the lower house of Dutch parliament, will officially vote on the law next week.