CDA leader Hoekstra may stay, it is unclear whether the coalition agreement will remain intact

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CDA leader Hoekstra may stay, it is unclear whether the coalition agreement will remain intact

CDA leader Wopke Hoekstra does not have to resign after the crushing loss of seats in the provincial elections, but he must ensure that the connection between The Hague and the rest of the country is restored. ‘You could see that he is under great pressure from those administrators in the region. There was great sadness, anger and emotion,’ says political reporter Sophie van Leeuwen. Things are also rumbling within the VVD.

Party chairman Hans Huibers (R) and party leader Wopke Hoekstra in the Carlton President Hotel, where the CDA is meeting for crisis consultations. The reason for the meeting was the dramatic loss of the elections for the Provincial Council. (ANP / ANP / Phil Nijhuis)

The CDA must listen better, is the message to the CDA top. After all, according to Van Leeuwen, there is a lot of dissatisfaction in the country about the policy in The Hague. “That strong blow hurts very much.” For now, it is mainly a matter of blowing off steam, Van Leeuwen thinks, and the CDA has no concrete action points yet. “How to proceed, that remained unclear last night.”

Buy time

And they’re trying to buy time. In the coming period, negotiations will of course also have to take place in the coalition about, for example, those nitrogen targets. But it’s also about trust, about the relationship with the citizen, with the constituency.’ According to Van Leeuwen, the crisis in the CDA is much deeper than just the nitrogen problem. ‘Wopke Hoekstra needs time for that, so he now gets that from his own supporters. That will be very exciting for him.’

“That is exactly what annoys those VVD supporters, Rutte keeps making jokes”

Sophie van Leeuwen, political reporter BNR

There is also dissatisfaction within the VVD after the significant loss. About a hundred concerned party members have written a letter to Mark Rutte, the party leader, party chairman Sofie Hermans and party chairman Wetzels. According to Van Leeuwen, the VVD faces the same problem as the CDA: declining confidence in the party leadership, a gap between the leadership and the voter. ‘People make the party, not the top, is the sound. It is also unclear at the VVD whether that coalition agreement on nitrogen should now be broken up.’

Rutte spoke at length with BBB leader Caroline van der Plas yesterday, but did not want to say anything about it and laughed off questions about it. According to Van Leeuwen, exactly the behavior that bothers the VVD supporters. “Rutte keeps making jokes, talks about soup instead of a solution for this country, for which he has really been responsible as prime minister for twelve years.”

“I expect that the situation will simply become unsustainable within the coalition”

Caroline van der Plas, leader BBB

Fall cabinet

Van der Plas did want to say a few things. Namely that she hopes that the cabinet will clap. “I expect that the situation will simply become unsustainable within the coalition and that there will be new elections before the end of the year.” Van der Plas is displeased with the fact that the cabinet did not move on the nitrogen dossier for two years, but that it can now suddenly do so.

Lower House elections

According to Van der Plas, her party has been preparing for the parliamentary elections for a long time. She also says that she is fully engaged in European elections. ‘We are already regularly in Brussels with other political groups to explore how we are going to do that. That’s all right.’ She leaves the question of whether Pieter Omtzigt is a candidate for prime minister to him, but she says she thinks the independent MP is ‘the very best MP’ the Netherlands has had in recent years. “He’s welcome to talk.” Van der Plas does not see himself in the turret. ‘I just want to work here, in the Chamber.’

‘Omtzigt is welcome to talk’

Caroline van der Plas, leader BBB

D66 is also licking its wounds and is more or less faced with a choice: commit to the nitrogen dossier or stick to the coalition agreement, as fewer and fewer parties want. D66 party chairman Jan Paternotte says he has received ‘no signals’ that the coalition agreement will be broken up. ‘A week after the elections we don’t suddenly find something very different from a week before the elections. That nitrogen problem is not going away. We have to solve that problem together.’


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