Ruth Peetoom, a 43-year-old church minister from Utrecht has been voted new chairwoman of the Christian Democrats.
Peetoom won almost 61% of the vote at a party congress on Saturday.
Last year, Peetoom voted against the CDA’s decision to form a governing alliance with the anti-Islam PVV. She was also deputy chairwoman of the commission which published a hard hitting report on the party’s massive loss at last year’s general election. The CDA’s support almost halved in the June vote.
In her first speech as chairwoman, Peetoom said she wanted to make it clear what the CDA stands for and restore respect and trust between party members.
The party does not have a formal political leader, although deputy prime minister Maxime Verhagen is the de facto chief. Sybrand van Haersma Buma leads the CDA MPs in parliament.
During the congress members also voted against the government’s plans to cut spending on education for children with special needs and said plans to appoint 500 police officers to investigate animal welfare issues goes too far.
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