The Dutch Prime Minister has handed in his government’s resignation to Queen Beatrix. Jan Peter Balkenende’s centre-right coalition collapsed after a junior partner pulled out. The D66 party quit over the handling of the citizenship of a Somali-born Dutch politician.A fierce critic of conservative Islam, Ayaan Hirsi Ali is no stranger to controversy.
She has been living under tight security since an Islamist militant killed filmmaker Theo van Gogh, who directed her film accusing Islam of suppressing women.
The row that has torn apart the government centres on Immigration Minister Rita Verdonk’s threat to revoke Hirsi Ali’s Dutch citizenship after she admitted giving false information on her arrival in the Netherlands in 1992. The minister went on to withdraw the threat but the change of heart was too late for D66. Now elections scheduled for next May could be held as early as September or October.