Rotterdam coalition loses majority due to city councilor's party switch
The Rotterdam coalition of Leefbaar Rotterdam, CDA and D66 no longer has the support of a majority of city councilors as councilor Mohammed Anfal switched from Leefbaar to Islam inspired party NIDA. Party leader Nourdin el Ouali announced the switch to NRC on Monday evening. The city council will discuss the consequences of the switch in an emergency debate on Thursday. Mayor Ahmed Aboutaleb is meeting party leaders to talk about it today, according to AD.
Anfal is more attracted to NIDA because it works to find connection, and that is what Rotterdam needs, he said. At Leefbaar he felt like the "poster-Moroccan", he said to NRC. He joined Leefbaar Rotterdam because in 2014 because the party helped him in a conflict with the municipality. "They say that origin does not matter. But they are dividing the city. They increase the gap between rich and poor", he said.
He went to NIDA leader Nourdin el Ouali, and after months of discussion and consideration, NIDA decided to take him in. Anfal decided to turn to NIDA instead of splitting off into a one-man faction because he wants to "come to terms" with himself, he said to the newspaper. "For three years I voted with Leefbaar on anti-social policy. I want to make something better, now while I still can."
Despite Anfal already approaching NIDA in March, Leefbaar Rotterdam was shocked by his departure. Only when Anfal left the group app on Monday night did they realize something is going on, according to AD. Their ignorance led to some snide responses from other parties. "Amazing not to know what's going on in their own faction. Sincere interest", PvdA councilor Aruna Radjkoemar said.
Rotterdam Mayor Aboutaleb is meeting with party leaders today, in preparation for the emergency debate on Thursday. He sees three possibilities for the now minority coalition. "Either the college continues as a minority coalition, where a majority must be obtained in the city council on each subject, or the coalition is repaired and a new party is added, or the coalition agreement is renegotiated and there will be new aldermen", he said to AD.