Rotterdam’s popular mayor Ahmed Aboutaleb will not challenge Diederik Samsom for the leadership of the PvdA (Labour party) ahead of next year’s general election.
Aboutaleb told television current affairs show Nieuwsuur that it would be extremely odd to suddenly challenge someone he had supported for years. ‘That would be a bizarre situation,’ he said. ‘It might seem odd to others, but that is the way I am.’
Aboutaleb is widely liked across the political spectrum and, according to a recent poll, is preferred over VVD leader Mark Rutte by supporters of the anti-Islam PVV. Aboutaleb, a Muslim, is known for his outspoken stance on radical Islam.
The PvdA, which won 38 seats at the last election, is currently struggling in the polls and would only win 12 to 15 if there were a general election tomorrow.
Deputy prime minister and social affairs minister Lodewijk Asscher is also cited as a possible challenger to Samsom. He has not yet decided whether to put his name forward.
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