Labour faces crushing election defeat under current leader says Deputy PM
If Diederik Samsom is again elected leader of the PvdA, then the party will have no signficant role in the forming of the new cabinet, Deputy Prime Minister and PvdA leader candidate Lodewijk Asscher said during the first PvdA leader debate in The Hague on Monday. According to him, should leadership of the PvdA not change, PVV leader Geert Wilders and VVD leader Mark RUtte will call the shots, NU.nl reports.
Asscher believes that the current political climate calls for a different type of leadership. "Many voters deserted us, but do share our ideals: fair share and care about each other", he said, according to the newspaper. According to Asscher, who is currently the Minister of Social Affairs and Employment, different groups in society are pitted against each other, and "binding leadership" is the solution.
The PvdA leadership election is between Asscher and current leader Diederik Samsom. Samsom focused his part of the debate mostly on his own strength, and thereby also pointed out what he believes is Asscher's weaknesses. According to Samsom, one of his strenghts is the experience he gaind as leader of the PvdA. "I will be the last to say it was easy, but I gave it my all, and with resulg: the Netherlands is rising again." he said.
Samsom believes that the PvdA needs a leader that isn't only focused on the economy. "People expect more of politics [...] policy is not enough. The PvdA operated too much as an engineers cabinet", he said. He wants the PvdA to be a part that people know stand for the voter. "Of that Asscher and I showed too little", he said, but added that at the same time he would not change anything."
There will be another three debates between the two candidates for PvdA leader - on November 19th in Tilburg, on November 26th in Groningen and on December 3rd in Amsterdam. PvdA members will vote on who will become the new leader. Non-members can also vote by paying 2 euros for temporary membership to the party. The winner will be announced on December 9th.
The biggest criticism about the PvdA leader elections is that there is not much of a choice to make between Asscher and Samsom, according to NU.nl. As party leader and Minister, both were responsible for the PvdA's course as coalition partner of the VVD over the past three years. During this time the party lost a lot of support and did badly in the previous municipal, provincial, state and European elections.