Labour MPs pick ‘social face’ as leader

Labour party (PvdA) MPs on Tuesday chose Mariëtte Hamer as their new leader, replacing Jacques Tichelaar who quit the position for health reasons.

In a closed session, the 33 MPs voted for Hamer ahead of Diederik Samsom, but the exact number of votes cast was not made public.
After the vote, Hamer told reporters her job would be to ‘give the PvdA back its social face’. ‘I think we have to be clearer about what our symbols are, such as redundancy law,’ the Volkskrant reported her as saying. ‘We have to think more about people and less about structures.’
A teacher by trade, Hamer (49) has been an MP since 1998. ‘Hamer is good at stopping things happening,’ one party source told news agency ANP. Her tough resistance to cabinet plans to reform redundancy law – which were eventually abandoned – is seen as a high point in her political career, ANP says.
The role of parliamentary party chief is an important one for the PvdA because the party’s main leader Wouter Bos is also finance minister and part of the government. His first priority is therefore to defend the cabinet and coalition.
Bos told the NRC he was pleased with Hamer’s election. ‘I look forward to working together,’ he said. ‘The party leader in the cabinet and in parliament must trust each other through and through and that is the case with Mariëtte.’

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