Third candidate comes forward to fight for CDA leadership job

A third candidate has emerged in the race to find a new leader for the Christian Democrats – MP Martijn van Helvert.

Van Helvert, 42, comes from Limburg and says he wants to improve the relationship between the dominant central belt of the country, where the four big cities are located, and the regions.

Two other candidates are also competing for the job left vacant by Sybrand Buma when he moved to be mayor of Leeuwarden: health minister Hugo de Jonge and junior economic affairs minister Mona Keijzer.

Like Keijzer, Van Helvert would not automatically rule out an alliance with the far right Forum voor Democratie.  However, if the party is purely ‘a loudspeaker for weird statements, nice photos and Mr Baudet’s books, then it would be very difficult,’ he told radio programme Met het oog op morgen.

Nieuwsuur political correspondent Arjan Noorlander said Van Helvert’s candidacy is a strategic one, because it will enable him to develop his profile. In addition, like Keijzer he comes from the right of the CDA, Noorlander said, and could split the vote, boosting De Jonge’s chances.

The party needs to elect a new leader to take it into the March 2021 general election.

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