As expected, justice minister Dilan Yeşilgöz has confirmed she wants to succeed Mark Rutte as leader of the right-wing Liberal VVD in an interview with the Telegraaf.
The VVD is “my club”, Yesilgöz told the paper. Her plan, she said, is to make the Netherlands “stronger and more resilient”. According to broadcaster NOS, Yeşilgöz is also the party leadership’s preferred candidate. They are due to make a statement later this week.
Yeşilgöz, 46, has been justice minister since last year and was previously a junior minister and MP. Until 2017, she was a member of Amsterdam city council.
Although not VVD voters’ top choice for the job, she is considered a strong candidate and 68% of VVD supporters in a recent RTL poll said they would support her as party leader.
Several other prominent VVD backers, including the favourite Klaas Dijkhoff, have already ruled themselves out for the job.
VVD voters will get to choose who should be their new leader and, potentially, the next prime minister. On Monday former MP André Bosman came forward stating he would contest the leadership.
Yeşilgöz was born in Ankara and came to the Netherlands in 1984 with her mother and sister to join her father, a Kurdish human rights activist, who had fled Turkey three years earlier.
She has taken a strong line on immigration as justice minister, claiming last weekend that the refugee system was being abused by people repeatedly bringing in family members.
She also led last week’s negotiations to try to solve the impasse on asylum within the four party coalition.
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