An MP for the fundamentalist Protestant party SGP, which believes the Netherlands should be governed according to Biblical principles, is stepping down from parliament, citing personal circumstances.
Elbert Dijkgraaf (48) was absent from parliament in January, because of stress. In a letter read out by parliamentary chairwoman Khadija Arib on Tuesday, the MP said his marriage had been under strain for a number of years and that ‘attempts to remedy the situation had not led to the hoped for results.’
Dijkgraaf, who is the SGP’s spokesperson on finance, defence and the environment and an MP of eight years, said the job does not leave enough time for a private life. He particularly said he wanted to spend more time with his children.
Arib called Dijkgraaf’s decision ‘a bitter pill’ and praised the MP’s energy and enthusiasm. Dijkgraaf’s temporary leave of absence in January probably made many MPs look at their own situation, Arib commented. ‘Am I working too hard; am I neglecting my family?’ she said.
Dijkgraaf is the second MP to resign over family issues in a month. In March Socialist Party MP Nine Kooiman left parliament saying she could not combine her work as a parliamentarian with being a mother.
Dijkgraaf,who says he will not take advantage of the generous MPs unemployment benefit system, says he is now looking for a ‘calmer’ job. He will be succeeded in parliament by Nunspeet councillor Chris Stoffer.