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Iraq Commission outrageous obstruction of parliamentary democracy

2 February 2009

Iraq Commission outrageous obstruction of parliamentary democracy

“The old boys network must be planning to whitewash Balkenende,” concluded SP leader Agnes Kant following the Premier's declaration this afternoon, in which he announced that the government would be conducting its own enquiry into Iraq. The announcement follows moves in the Senate to open a parliamentary enquiry into the decision-making procedures which led to the Netherlands' 'political support' for the US-British invasion of Iraq in March, 2003. The cabinet, Kant said, is pushing the Parliament out of the way, which she described as 'completely unacceptable.'

One of the SP's most serious objections is that a government commission of enquiry will have no power to hear people under oath. In addition, the government move means that all of the Senate's already-posed questions will be pushed back to the autumn.

In the meantime the political world is expected to refrain from comment. “This is an outrageous obstruction of parliamentary democracy," Kant said. "The elected representatives of the people must not allow themselves to be given the brush off in this way.”

NATO General Secretary Jaap De Hoop Scheffer with Balkenende and Bush, shortly before the Iraq war.
NATO General Secretary Jaap De Hoop Scheffer with Balkenende and Bush, shortly before the Iraq war. Demonstration against the war in Amsterdam
In Amsterdam, tens of thousands of people demonstrated against the Iraq war. Signature collecting

In 2007 more than 100,000 signatures were collected for a petition demanding a proper enquiry.

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