She had already faced many threats, but hearing her daughters say, during a television program, their fear that she would one day be assassinated, floored Sigrid Kaag, the Dutch Minister of Finance, Thursday, May 25. After a long silence, she said a few words: “Yes…, they are my children… They really care…”before crushing a tear.
Member of the Liberal Democratic Party D66 and number two in the government led by Liberal Mark Rutte, this 62-year-old personality was facing young people on the set of the public channel NPO 2. The presenter showed him an extract from a program which was to air on Sunday evening and during which his two daughters spoke. They spoke of their hope that their mother would step down to escape the fate of Els Borst, a former health minister, who was stabbed outside her home in 2014 by an individual claiming to be carrying out a “god’s mission” by killing the person responsible for the liberalization of euthanasia in the Netherlands.
This painful reminder – Mme Borst was also an elected member of D 66 – visibly upset the minister, targeted by numerous threats made on social networks. A special unit of the Dutch police, set up to try to stem the phenomenon, recorded, in 2022, 1,125 hateful and threatening messages against political figures, of which nearly 900 were criminally punishable, an increase of more than 100%. within a year.
Groups of men carrying torches
Half of them targeted Geert Wilders, the leader of the far-right Freedom Party (PVV), but Mme Kaag was among the other most targeted personalities. Some 127 criminal investigations are ongoing and 37 people were convicted in 2022.
In 2021, the minister had asked to appear during the trial brought against a man who had indicated, on social networks, that he wanted to attack him and “injure her until she is dead or no longer fit to perform her duties”. This repeat offender – he also wrote that he would pay “the first and the second ball” for the Minister of Health Hugo de Jong – had been sentenced to five months in detention, including three months. Recently, the Minister was confronted by groups of men carrying torches waiting for her near her home.
Her image as an urban intellectual, a former high-flying diplomat trained in the United Kingdom and France – she joined the ENA – her pro-European position, the responsibility attributed to her in the chaotic withdrawal of Dutch troops from Afghanistan: all these factors, and many others, fueled Dutch anger or hatred against it.
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Source: Le Monde