Pieter Omtzigt launches new party, says he won’t be PM

Pieter Omtzigt in action in parliament. Photo: Lex van Lieshout ANP

Independent MP Pieter Omtzigt will take part in the November general election with his own party, the former CDA parliamentarian has announced. 

Omtzigt’s party will be called Nieuw Sociaal Contract and threatens to shake up the existing line up considerably. Opinion polls have suggested Omtzigt could win most seats in parliament if he decided to take part. 

Omtzigt told the regional paper Tubantia he had a programme but not a list of potential MPs. “We are talking to people but I cannot share any names as yet,” the MP, who was first elected to parliament in 2003, said.

“In the coming week, we will put out a call for people who want to take part. We have until October 9 to come up with a list,” he said.

Omtzigt left the Christian Democrats in 2021 after a highly critical report he wrote about the party went public and has been an independent since then. He has built up a reputation for asking difficult questions and had a prominent role in exposing the discrimination at the heart of the childcare benefit scandal.

Predictions that his party could win up to 46 seats in the 150-seat parliament had not made it any easier to decide whether or not to take part, Omtzigt said. He also said it would be irresponsible for a new party to begin with so many seats, pointing to the collapse of the LPF and Forum voor Democratie. 

The Netherlands needs a new culture of governance because we are “lurching from crisis to crisis,” Omtzigt said in a video on social media. That includes a change in the way MPs are elected with the introduction of some form of regional representation, and a constitutional court. 

In addition, he said, he wants to do something about the shortage of homes in the Netherlands and 400,000 people’s “need for food”. 

Even if the new party is the biggest after the November 22 vote, Omtzigt said he did not want to be prime minister. “My place is in parliament,” he told Tubantia, “to lead the new party and its team.”

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