As expected, social affairs minister and deputy prime minister Lodewijk Asscher has decided to challenge for the leadership of the Labour party (PvdA) in the run-up to the March 2017 general election.
Asscher, who was an alderman in Amsterdam before joining the government, launched his bid for the top party job at a school in the west of the capital on Monday afternoon.
Polls show he is more popular than the present incumbent Diederik Samsom, who is currently an MP. However, the PvdA is trailing badly in the polls and is on target to win no more than 14 seats in the 150 seat second chamber.
During his speech, Asscher said that all forms of discrimination should be tackled and that refugees from war should be taken care off with a warm heart. ‘But let us not further pressure neighbourhoods which are already under pressure and let us be critical about who we let in,’ Asscher said.
He also used the occasion to launch another attack on the right-wing Liberals even though Labour is currently part of the coalition government with the VVD.
The VVD, he said, is betraying the middle class, and the backbone of the Netherlands. The party is guilty of ‘cold materialism’, he said.
Party members can vote for their new leader between November 24 and December 8. Non-members can join for a month for €2 to take part in the vote.
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