Kajsa Ollongren drops out of D66 leadership race, Kaag tipped for WTO move

Defence minister Kasja Ollongren. Photo: Government.nl
Photo: Government.nl

Home affairs minister Kajsa Ollongren is not going to contest the D66 party leadership ahead of the general election next March, she told television programme M on Thursday evening.

Ollongren had been tipped as a possible successor to Alexander Pechtold, who left in October 2018. Since then, Rob Jetten has chaired the party in parliament, but it is up to members to decide who should lead the party into the general election.

Ollongren has been back at work for seven weeks after a long absence following an operation on her sinuses. She told the programme that she had spent a lot of time thinking about her future but that she had decided not to go for the leadership ‘because it would not be sensible for my health or my family’.

Meanwhile, trade minister Sigrid Kaag, who has said she is interested in the D66 leadership job, is being tipped as new director general of the World Trade Organisation.

Sources told Nieuwsuur that Kaag, who previously worked for the UN and the Dutch foreign office, was in ‘serious’ talks about the job and that colleagues are lobbying on her behalf.

D66, which currently has 19 seats in the 150 seat lower house of parliament and is part of the four party coalition government, will pick a new leader this summer.

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