Netherlands | The Government Is Rocked by Resignation and Assassination
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The Government Is Rocked by Resignation and Assassination
Wim Kok's government resigned in April 2002 after a report concluded that Dutch UN troops failed to prevent a massacre of Bosnian Muslims by Bosnian Serbs in a UN safe haven near Srebrenica in 1995. Explaining his action, the popular prime minister said, “The international community is big and anonymous. We are taking the consequences of the international community's failure in Srebrenica.”
The country's normally bland political scene was further rocked with the May 2002 assassination of Pim Fortuyn, a right-wing anti-immigrant politician. Days later, his party, Lijst Pim Fortuyn, placed second in national elections, behind Jan Peter Balkenende's Christian Democrats. Leading the country into a marked shift to the right, Balkenende formed a three-way center-right coalition government with his Christian Democrats, Lijst Pim Fortuyn, and the People's Party for Freedom and Democracy. Balkenende became prime minister in July 2002.
In November 2004, filmmaker Theo Van Gogh, who had recently released a controversial film that was critical of Islam and highlighted the abuse of Muslim women, was killed by a militant Muslim. Van Gogh's murder sent shockwaves throughout the country and increased the ethnic tension fomenting throughout the country.
In 2005, just days after French voters rejected the EU constitution in a referendum, the voters in the Netherlands followed suit.
Karst Tates, a 38-year-old Dutch national, drove his car into a crowd of people at a Queen's Day parade in May 2009 in Apeldoorn. He narrowly missed hitting a bus that was carrying Queen Beatrix and other members of the royal family. Five people died in the crash. Tates, who later died of injuries sustained in the crash, admitted he was attempting to assassinate the royal family.