Dutch Labour party chairman under heavy fire after election debacle

Photo: PvdA via Wikimedia Commons

Labour party members are furious with PvdA chairman Hans Spekman for not stepping down following Wednesday’s election bloodbath, Dutch papers report on Friday.

Support for the PvdA plummeted from 38 to just nine seats in the 150 seat lower house and a number of high-profile MPs will now be out of a job. Dozens of party workers will also join the ranks of the unemployed.

The party is holding a members’ meeting on Saturday and Spekman will face a no confidence motion after refusing to go voluntarily.

‘I was elected for four years,’ Spekman said in a reaction. ‘I am willing to step down if that is what members want.’

19th century

MP Jan Vos, who is one of the MPs now out of work, slammed Spekman publicly and said the party is living in the 19th century. ‘We are living in the past, we are busy with our own issues and we have forgotten the voters,’ Vos said in an opinion piece in the Volkskrant.

Vos also directed his fury at campaign leader Lodewijk Asscher, who beat Diederik Samsom in a leadership contest at the end of last year. He behaved like a ‘ruler from the previous century’ and overestimated his impact, Vos wrote.

Earlier, party stalwart Rob Oudkerk suggested the party should dissolve itself while Felix Rottenberg, another elder statesman, said the campaign had been riddled with errors.