The entire Liberal (VVD) leadership is responsible for last year’s general election defeat, according to an internal party commission, leaked to NOS tv.
In particular, the report blames the leadership battle between Mark Rutte and Rita Verdonk for creating divisions within the party. Verdonk narrowly lost the leadership contest but attracted more preference votes than Rutte in the November election. Rutte is also criticised for failing to make an impact, NOS said.
The VVD lost nearly 25% of its support in the election, taking just 22 seats – its worst post WWII performance.
Former housing minister Sybilla Dekker who is compiling the report refused to comment, saying the report was not yet finished. It is due to be presented next week.
Rutte’s position is once again under fire. Earlier this week, Verdonk said the party needed a ‘decent right-wing’ leader and that Rutte was not right-wing enough.
Later, a poll for tv show EenVandaag showed that 67% of party members agreed that the VVD is not sufficiently right-wing. Some 42% said Verdonk would be the best party leader, with 22% supporting Rutte and 34% former defence minister Henk Kamp.
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