The Labour party (PvdA) has elected aid charity director Lilianne Ploumen as its new chair. Ploumen unexpectedly beat her more well-known rival, the former minister and left-winger Jan Pronk.
In what was a very close contest, Ploumen won 54% of the votes and will succeed Michiel van Hulten who stepped down earlier this year. Just under half (44%) of the 60,000 party members participated in the ballot, reports the Volkskrant.
The paper also claims that PvdA leader Wouter Bos has little to fear from Ploumen and is relieved that her more left-wing and outspoken rival Pronk was not selected.
The new party chairwoman is likely to play a pivotal role in her party’s decision on a new EU referendum. In a tv interview on Monday night shortly after it was announced that she had won the vote, Ploumen said she supports the call for a referendum and would be ‘disappointed’ in Labour MPs decide against it.
Labour MPs are expected to announce today whether or not they will support a parliamentary initiative for the referendum in the defiance of the cabinet’s rejection of a public vote on the issue. The cabinet, including Labour ministers, rejected the idea of a referendum for the new EU treaty last week.
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