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Dutch Government Resigns


Dutch Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende has tendered his government's resignation after a junior coalition partner quit in protest over the actions of the immigration minister.

Mr. Balkenende handed his resignation to Queen Beatrix, who must now meet with leaders of all parties in parliament to determine whether to hold a new election immediately or let the prime minister temporarily head a minority government.

Balkenende's government collapsed late Thursday when a small coalition partner, the D 66 party, withdrew its support over recent actions by Immigration Minister Rita Verdonk.

The minister had stripped former Somali-born Dutch lawmaker and vocal critic of Islam Ayaan Hirsi Ali of her Dutch citizenship because she used a false name on her asylum request in 1992. Verdonk reversed her decision earlier this week.

The minister said she had determined that it had been legitimate for Hirsi Ali to use her grandfather's surname rather than her father's, because it is legal to do so under Somali law.

Hirsi Ali has resigned her seat in parliament and announced plans to move to the United States. She made world headlines in 2004 when Dutch director Theo Van Gogh made a film she wrote accusing Islam of suppressing women. A Muslim fundamentalist shot and killed Van Gogh.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP and AP .