D66 leader and finance minister Sigrid Kaag has decided to bow out of politics after the next general election, citing the negative impact of her job on her family.
Kaag, who joined D66 after a career with the UN, told Trouw in an interview on Wednesday that the many threats and online hate messages she receives have “taken a toll on the children”.
In particular, Kaag has been under attack from the far right, who have labelled her a “witch”, leading to demonstrators carrying torches turning up at her home and greeting her at meetings.
In May, her daughters, who were brought up abroad, said in a television interview they wished their mother would do a different job.
“If I look back… I came back to the Netherlands in 2017 because I really thought I could achieve something and do good, but I have asked too much of them,” she told the paper. “I do not think I can ask it of them a second time.”
Kaag said she does not yet know what she will do when she leaves The Hague.
Climate minister Rob Jetten, D66 parliamentary party leader Jan Paternotte and defence minister Kajsa Ollongren have been tipped as possible successors to lead the D66 election campaign.
The vote is likely to take place in November.
Kaag’s decision means that three of the four parties in the current coalition will have new leaders. VVD leader and prime minister Mark Rutte is stepping down once a new government has been sworn in, as is CDA leader and foreign minister Wopke Hoekstra.
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