Asylum distribution law likely to get majority in parliament, but Senate support shaky
On Tuesday, a parliamentary majority supported an amendment by the SP to also consider a municipality’s socio-economic situation when distributing asylum seekers. The SP will, therefore, vote in favor of the distribution law. That means there is majority support in the Tweede Kamer, the lower house of the Dutch parliament, for the law that should ensure a fair distribution of asylum seekers among municipalities, several MPs confirm.
However, an amendment important to the BBB will likely not receive a majority, which means that the law may die in the Eerste Kamer, the Dutch Senate.
BBB leader Caroline Van der Plas said last week during the two-day debate on the politically sensitive issue that her party would tie its willingness to vote in favor of the law with support for its amendments to the law. The BBB wants several concessions, including an annual maximum of 15,000 asylum seekers which is enshrined in law. However, a majority in the lower house of Parliament is against this.
In addition, the BBB also wanted an amendment that would lay down in law that asylum seekers are distributed among municipalities based on population figures. This was stated in the explanatory notes accompanying the bill but not in the legal text itself. This amendment is expected to receive the support of the Tweede Kamer.
The BBB faction has four seats in the Tweede Kamer, which has a total of 150 members. The party does not necessarily hold a deciding vote in the lower house. However, in the Eerste Kamer, the party commands 16 of the upper house’s 75 seats.
The total number of senators known to be opposed to the measure in the Eerste Kamer is 37, one shy of a majority. The VVD, PVV, SGP, Ja21, and FvD have come out against the law.
Reporting by ANP