Baptism of fire awaits new Arnhem mayor Ahmed Marcouch

Former Labour MP Ahmed Marcouch was named mayor of Arnhem in July 2017Former Labour MP Ahmed Marcouch is to become mayor of Arnhem, three months after becoming one of the most prominent casualties of the party’s election collapse.

The 48-year-old will take over from Christian Democrat mayor Herman Kaiser, who stepped down earlier this year on health grounds.

Marcouch, who had been a member of Parliament since 2010, was in 13th place on Labour’s (PvdA) list of candidates for the election in March, but the party won just nine seats.

The city council agreed on Monday to put his name forward to the interior ministry, and provided there are no objections minister Ronald Plasterk will submit his name to the king.

He arrives in Arnhem at a turbulent time in the town hall following the withdrawal of the ChristenUnie and GroenLinks from the coalition last month, leaving a minority administration of the Socialist Party (SP), D66 and the Christian Democrats (CDA).

Marcouch told De Gelderlander his priorities were to tackle ‘poverty, radicalisation and the divide between rich and poor’.

Born in Morocco, he moved to the Netherlands at the age of 10 and worked as a police officer and a teacher before going into politics in Amsterdam, where he spent five years as chairman of Amsterdam-Slotervaart district council.

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