Health minister Hugo de Jonge has said he is standing down as the Christian Democrats leader for the 2021 general election, citing pressure of work on the coronavirus crisis.
De Jonge narrowly beat MP Pieter Omtzigt in the July leadership contest but now says that he cannot take on both roles. ‘No matter how much I love this party, this crisis takes priority,’ he said. ‘I have come to the conclusion I cannot do justice to both roles.’
— Hugo de Jonge (@hugodejonge) December 10, 2020
The shock decision means the party is now without a leader with just over three months to go before the vote. Popular finance minister Wopke Hoekstra, who declared he was not a candidate for the leadership in June, is now under pressure to come forward, sources in The Hague say.
Hoekstra has not yet reacted to De Jonge’s resignation and Saturday’s CDA conference has now been postponed. One option being considered is to put Omtzigt in charge of the election campaign, with Hoekstra as the party’s prime ministerial candidate, broadcaster NOS reported.
The CDA has been in search of a new leader since Sybrand Burma left national politics in May last year to become mayor of Leeuwarden.
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