Dutch FM survives motion of no confidence

Second Chamber

Minister Stef Blok of Foreign Affairs survived a motion of no confidence in a parliamentary debate on Wednesday about statements he made on multicultural societies. Many opposition parties voted against him, but he still has the support of the coalition, NU.nl reports.

At a private meeting for expats in The Hague in July, Blok said that peaceful multicultural societies don't exist and that it is genetically determined that people from different groups can't get along. He also called Suriname a failed state. This naturally upset Suriname, as well as a number of other countries with multicultural societies, including parts of the Caribbean Netherlands. The comments also prompted officials to call on Blok to increase diversity at the Ministry. 

The VVD Minister later said he regretted the offense given by his statements and acknowledged that he chose his words "unfortunately and carelessly".

Blok faced fierce criticism from the parliamentarians, including MPs from the coalition parties. The motion of no confidence was brought by DENK. "This minister damaged the image fo the Netherlands", DENK leader Tunahan Kuzu said. The motion was supported by GroenLinks, SP, PvdA and PvdD.

But a parliamentary majority consisting of coalition parties VVD, CDA, D66 and ChristenUnie, as well opposition parties 50Plus and SGP still supported the Minister.

During the debate, Blok said that he does not support the statements he made. "I should not have used the words that were careless and I take them back", Blok said. "So I did not mean those words."

Blok previously apologized for the upheaval caused by his remarks, but it remained unclear whether he still stood behind the the statements. In the debate, Blok completely renounced those views.

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