Members flee seniors' political party
Senior party 50Plus is currently in a state of chaos. After an "irreparable breach of trust", fraction leader Norbert Klein kicked his colleague Martine Baay from the fraction on Wednesday. The party has now denounced its trust in Norbert Klein. Baay is continuing in Parliament under her own name, and Klein is continuing as only MP for 50Plus.
According to 50Plus Senate member and co-party founder Jan Nagel, the rift between the two MPs has catalyzed dozens of members to step out of the party.
Baay became a Parliament Member seven months ago when figurehead Henk Krol gave up his place after it appeared that he remitted pension premiums for his staff as boss of the Gay Krant newspaper. The MP is currently recovering from cancer. According to Klein, Baay was hardly ever in attendance at Parliament debates.
She also did not communicate well, and did not hold appointments, Klein says. "Due to her illness she was forgetful. That is very bothersome of course. It led to a lot of back and forth arguing."
Klein admits that there was a lot of conflict of interest, and differing ideas for the future of the party. Baay wanted 50Plus to become "a sort of interests club", Klein says, and that she wanted the party to become more of a broad people's party. She also refused to enter into a fraction council together with Klein, demanding a third person to come in.
"A two-man's fraction means that you cannot take action on all fields and on all dossiers. You have to make choices", Baay replies. She also presses that Klein knew about her illness, and her ongoing chemo treatment, saying that it was being taken into account.
According to the Telegraaf, there has been rumbling behind the curtains of the senior party for some time now. Klein himself was reprimanded for proposing that the party should also aim at the interests of young people. Party members saw strings tied to the hands of Senator Jan Nagel.
Nagel does not agree with the manner in which Klein dismissed Baay, "without any discussion beforehand with anyone." Nagel does not think this is collegial, but heartless. The Telegraaf writes that the governing body of 50Plus think it is Klein, not Baay who is the problem.
As for new leadership for 50Plus, MPs are keeping a return of Henk Krol as an option if Baay relinquishes her seat to make place for the former executive editor of the Gay Krant. Krol hoped to get preferential votes in last week's European Elections to earn a place in the European Parliament. The party did not win any seats, however.