Independent MP Pieter Omtzigt is going to contest the November general election with his own party Nieuw Sociaal Contract. He’s already said he does not want to be prime minister and is not after becoming the biggest group in parliament. But what about his policies? Dutch journalists have been digging around to find out what Omtzigt wants.
The Financieele Dagblad argues that is the fledgling BBB, his former party CDA, and the far right PVV and VVD who have most to fear from Omtzigt’s new party. His book, on which the party name is based, focused on the need for good governance and putting the ordinary man back at the heart of the political process.
In particular, he is not a fan of the “accords” that previous governments have been so keen on reaching between politicians, the public and the private sector on issues such as health, the energy transition and climate change.
Combating poverty is also central. But Omtzigt is also known to oppose the ECB’s strategy of keeping interest rates low. “He is not a Europhile, but he is for an alliance with Europe,” the paper points out.
Ironically, while the pro-farmers BBB has most to fear in terms of the electoral damage, Omtzigt has more often voted in line with the pro-animal PvdD than Caroline van der Plas over the past year and he is known to oppose factory farming.
“There was no place in Creation for animals in cages,” he said during one parliamentary debate.
The AD points out that two flash polls on Monday suggest that 56% of people who planned to vote for the BBB may now switch to Omtzigt. Almost half the SP voters and 43% of those backing far right JA21 are also considering the new party.
RTL Nieuws states that Omtzigt is conservative when it comes to immigration. “Omtzigt sees migration as a problem and wants to stem the flow,” Leiden University political scientist Simon Otjes told the broadcaster. “And in that case, he is fishing in the same pond as the PVV and BBB.”
In addition, RTL Nieuws points out, his views on healthcare and education are largely unknown.
The Volkskrant says in its analysis that Omtzigt also poses a particular problem for the VVD because of his focus on issues the party would rather not deal with – good governance and a good living conditions for all.
The VVD, the paper says, will not want these themes to dominate over its chosen topics for the election campaign – that of asylum and security.
Should Omtzigt succeed in making these the big issues, then VVD leader Dilan Yesilgöz faces a baptism by fire, the paper says. A justice minister, she has had little to do with financial and social issues and has certainly never faced an opponent like Omtzigt.
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