Iron Rita Loses Her Mettle

MARTIJN BEEKMAN / AP

Verdonk, at left, and Balkenende have to start all over again

In a bizarre coda to an episode that seemed resolved, the Dutch government last week stepped down over Immigration and Integration Minister Rita Verdonk's treatment of controversial politician Ayaan Hirsi Ali. For Prime [an error occurred while processing this directive] Minister Jan Peter Balkenende, it was his second coalition break-up in only four years in office.

In May, "Iron Rita" Verdonk took away Hirsi Ali's passport because the Somalian-born woman had entered the country and requested asylum in 1992 under a false name, as she had openly admitted. Many considered Verdonk's handling of the dossier excessively harsh, and under pressure from her...

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