Lodewijk Asscher to be confirmed as Labour leader for 2021 election

Lodewijk Asscher (centre) on a walkabout in Friesland. Photo: Thijs Rooimans/PvdA
Lodewijk Asscher (centre) on a walkabout in Friesland. Photo: Thijs Rooimans/PvdA/Flickr

Labour leader Lodewijk Asscher is set to top the party’s list of candidates in next year’s election after no rival candidate came forward.

Sources quoted by RTL Nieuws said the party would confirm his candidacy later on Wednesday. The PvdA is the first of the major parties to name its leader for the election, due to take place next March.

Asscher became leader in 2016 after successfully challenging Diederik Samsom, who formed a coalition with Mark Rutte’s right-wing liberal VVD party in 2012. In the election the following year Labour suffered its heaviest ever losses, going from 38 seats to nine.

Latest opinion polls suggest the PvdA has recovered to around 15 seats, which places it near the front of the pack chasing the VVD, which has been boosted by Rutte’s favourable ratings during the coronavirus crisis. The party is projected to win more than 40 seats on current polling.

Rutte is widely expected to confirm later this year that he will seek a fourth term as prime minister, having been in office since 2010. His coalition partners, the Christian Democrats (CDA) and D66 will also hold leadership contests this year to replace Sybrand Buma and Alexander Pechtold.

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