Editorial: Authorities are treating political parties with kid gloves.

POSTED: 07/22/14 1:58 PM

There are many ways to look at the general permit the Justice Ministry issued for political parties on July 8.

One could argue, for instance, that the permit’s conditions do not apply to every billboard that was already in place before that date. This is because article 1 of the current criminal code states that something is only punishable after a law is put in place or after a permit has been issued.

One could even argue that the permit has to be published in the National Gazette before it is enforceable – and this has not happened yet. The first opportunity for an official publication is this upcoming Friday, July 25, when the next gazette appears.

However, if this were necessary (and the permit therefore does not apply yet) then all parties that have placed campaign material on public roads are in violation of the APK – the Algemene Politie Keur (General Police Law) because they have no permit at all.

It is however impossible to explain to the average citizen why she or he should abide by the law when political parties – the finer points of legal aspects aside – violate a permit issued by the Justice Ministry on a grand scale without consequences.

True, the police have visited all political parties to talk about all this, to give the parties the opportunity to correct violations of the permit.

That alone constitutes a form of class justice. Just imagine the police stopping a motorist for not wearing a seatbelt. That motorist would not get the opportunity to correct the situation – the police would issue a fine.

Citizens may therefore expect decisive action against the violators of the permit for the placement of campaign material. That this does has not happened yet shows that the authorities are treating political parties with kid gloves.

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