Five middle-aged white males to fight for Labour leadership

Labour leader Diederik Samsom
Diederik Samsom is seeking re-election. Photo: Theresa Posthuma de Boer/PvdA

Five candidates have officially thrown their hat into the ring for the job of leading the Labour Party (PvdA) into next March’s election.

As the deadline for nominations passed at 10am, the front runners looked set to be current leader Diederik Samsom and deputy prime minister Lodewijk Asscher.

Pelle Oosting, a local government official in Deventer, was the last of the five contenders to declare after submitting the 100 signatures required under party rules on Sunday evening. Backbench MP Jacques Monasch and left-winger Gerard Bosman are the other known nominees.

Labour won 38 of the 150 seats in the Lower House in the 2012 election, with Samsom taking much of the credit for his strong performances in the televised debates. But since going into coalition with Mark Rutte’s VVD its support has collapsed and latest polls put it on course to win around 11 seats.

On Monday the PvdA published its draft election manifesto, which includes a plan to raise an extra €1 billion, partly by raising taxes on banks, and proposals to make it harder for companies to run up debts, a move designed to reduce the number of jobs lost through bankruptcy.

Women say no

The party will publish the final list of candidates on November 7, when the contest officially gets under way. Candidates are not obliged to make their names public before then, but attempts to persuade the party’s leading women to join the race appear to have failed.

Sources in The Hague quoted by NOS said party chairman Hans Spekman had approached PvdA ministers Liliane Plouman, Sharon Dijksma and Jet Bussemaker, as well as senate group leader Marleen Barth and former MP Myrthe Hilkens, but all declined. Hilkens is no longer a member of the party.

Another notable absentee is Rotterdam mayor Ahmed Aboutaleb, who ruled himself out of the contest back in May.

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