Tuesday, 8 September 2015 - 11:44
Pressure piles on Labour leader Samsom to step down
Former PvdA chairman Felix Rottenberg thinks that not Diederik Samsom, but Deputy Prime Minister Lodewijk Asscher should be the party leader in the next election. Rottenberg sharply criticized the current leader of the Labour party, calling him the "director of the Cabinet". Rottenberg made these statements in an interview with Vrij Nederland, RTL reports. As he is also the leader of the PvdA selection committee, tasked with looking for new candidates for parliament, his words carry some extra weight. The next elections are scheduled for March 2017. According to Rottenberg, Samsom too quickly formed a coalition with the VVD after the 2012 elections. "It involved hasty, thoughtless negotiations" and the strategy was "very unwise". He feels that the PvdA's position is "structurally affected by this cabinet". "We need to draw radical conclusions, otherwise we will be wiped out." he said. "Men like Samsom and Dijsselbloem have committed themselves to this government. They still believe they will save the PvdA this way. That is not so!" He did call Samsom "brave" for trying to keep the coalition in tact. "He is an ecological compassionate man who could develop into a great minister of sustainability in the next cabinet." Rottenberg believes that the PvdA must follow a more left-wing course. "Lodewijk Asscher is very actively working on that. He has what it takes." Before the start of the weekly party meeting, Samsom told broadcaster NOS that he "really does not have time to react" to Rottenberg's statements. "We are working on issues such as the refugee problem and creating jobs. I really want to devote my whole attention to that." He did say that it is not uncommon for members in the PvdA to try and keep each other sharp, but "sometimes a bit more tactful than others".