Tuesday, 28 November 2006

Verdonk in leadership slam dunk - Update

Goats in, Votes out

After the Dutch elections last week, I am still gob smacked about how the results have turned out. The ruling party (Christian Democratic Appeal - CDA) with its burgher, lack-lustre, dour leader who at times appears in need of a radical charismatic lobotomy after his anti-Harry Potter makeover, lead the team to another electoral victory.

He would now have a fourth bite at the cherry in 4 years, even the Dutch should be getting election weary.

Victory, in the sense that they won more seats in the Second Chamber, but 76 are needed to have a majority government, they got 41 losing 3 seats from the last time and needing 35 to form a majority government.

The opposition Labour Party got 33 losing 9 seats; the Socialist Party increased their share from 9 to 25 and the Liberal Party (VVD), the party of the Minister of dis-Integration and Emigration – Mrs Rita Verdonk, lost 4 seats to end up being the fourth party with 22 seats.

A Dutch coalition of pain

The old coalition of CDA, VVD and D66 would only garner 66 seats; however, it is unlikely that D66 would play having lost half their seats nor would they be seen in cahoots with Verdonk the cause of the fall of the last government.

The salutary lesson of this election is, people want more of the same with a lean to the left, then a bit of tough talk on those immigration and religious issues espoused by Geert Wilders whose locks once looked like a permanent lawyer’s wig. His new party of tough-talking intolerance pulled in 9 seats but he is too much of a firebrand to be called into a coalition – he was once in the Liberal Party – methinks we are in the death throes of liberalism in the Netherlands since the standard bearers of that ideology have lost electoral ground.

There is no doubt that a good few people would like to see Mrs Rita Verdonk sacked and pensioned off into obscurity, but not that easily.

She is back – again!

In 10 minutes, I heard the number 620,555 from her lips just as many times, the number of votes polled by Mrs Verdonk as number 2 in the VVD Party list which by circumstance happens to exceed the leader’s number by 50,000 votes. A precedent, they say.

Early on Tuesday, she said she would not challenge for the leadership of the party, having 4 months ago clearly lost the vote of the VVD party for the leadership, well, this evening she is back in a surreptitious and outrageous power grab for the leadership.

First by saying the people have spoken, she is probably more popular than the leader of her party, however, she would not challenge for the leadership of the party.

Rather, a commission should be set up to review this unique situation, and meanwhile, she is loyal to the party and to the leadership of Matt Rutte.

Rotten politics

If I have ever heard a fork-tongued, double-speak, back-stabbing, political about-face of the most slithering snake of treasonable political Brutus-tricks, Mrs Verdonk personifies the side of politics that would make you puke your toes from the inside – the moniker of Lady Oddjob now really fits.

There are rules for the election of a party leader and that is not decided by a general election, but by party membership, the leader only had 3 months to prepare for the elections, Mrs Verdonk has hugged the headlines for years with her tough stance on immigration and she neither won it within her party nor did she win it for her party.

If the VVD has a liability, it would be her, but like we have with the Weakest Link, the party members may not see through this political travesty of honour and integrity.

For a person who being unelected caused the fall of a government to now want to reap the fruits of democratic ascendancy, shows that she has all ambition and has little to show in political maturity or leadership – it would be not surprise me if like the List Pim Fortuyn, her leadership of the VVD leads the party to political obscurity through in-fighting and rancour – some lessons do have to be learnt the hard way and the Liberal Party looks like a ready and willing student.

Update – 29/11/2006

Having not been able to persuade the party hierarchy to establish an unnecessary commission, to examine the unique situation of the party leader polling less than the next person in the party list; Mrs. Verdonk has now pledged allegiance to the party and thrown her weight behind the party leader respecting the decision of the party to retain Mark Rutte and the leader of the Liberal Party (VVD).

References

The Verdonk Blog Trail

The Lady Oddjob Blog Trail

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