Rotterdam mayor Ivo Opstelten has been elected new chairman of the right-wing Liberal party VVD. Opstelten, 64, took 67% of the vote, beating Brabant provincial councillor Onno Hoes.
Opstelten immediately set a target of winning at least 35 seats in the next general election in 2011. The party currently has 21 seats in the 150-seat parliament and is below that in the latest opinion polls.
Opstelten called for ‘sharp’ action to bring back VVD voters who have migrated to the anti-immigration parties PVV and TON. He called on the party to focus on six themes: security, integration, economic growth, the environment, education and healthcare.
He pledged not to get in the way of VVD MPs and their parliamentary leader Mark Rutte. ‘ They must have the room to establish a proper profile,’ he said. ‘But I am not out of the game. My job is to keep both MPs and the party as a whole on their toes.’
Opstelten will resign as Rotterdam mayor on January 1 2009. The party chairmanship is an unpaid position.
Thank you for donating to DutchNews.nl.
We could not provide the Dutch News service, and keep it free of charge, without the generous support of our readers. Your donations allow us to report on issues you tell us matter, and provide you with a summary of the most important Dutch news each day.Make a donation