The brethren in black suits get their first female local leader

Members of the fundamentalist Christian political party SGP in Vlissingen have voted in favour of a woman leading their campaign for next year’s local elections.

The party does not approve of women becoming involved in politics but was forced by legal action last year to accept the principle of women taking political office.

Now Lilian Janse, 40, has emerged as the leader of the local party’s election efforts after no man could be found to take the job. Local members voted 23 for, 14 against Janse’s candidacy.


The local party’s chairman Cees de Landmeter refused to comment on the election of a woman, the first in the party’s 95-year-history. The SGP, notorious for its dark-suited men, is not currently represented on the port town’s council.

Janse said in a reaction she hopes people will vote for the party not her, just because she is female.

Maarten van Leeuwen, leader of the national SGP, told news agency ANP the decision is matter for the local party. ‘The board will continue to campaign for the party’s basic principles. We place a lot of value on our members’ inner convictions.’

The SGP believes the country should be governed ‘entirely on the basis of the ordinances of God’, which means men and women should have different roles. The party has three seats in national government.

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