Interim Den Haag mayor will be appointed within days, King's Commissioner says

The Commissioner of the King in Zuid Holland, Jaap Smit, will announce who will be acting mayor of The Hague within a few days. The city is looking for an interim mayor, because Pauline Krikke announced her resignation as mayor with immediate effect on Sunday.

Smit met with the city council of The Hague on Sunday evening to discuss the situation. "I have spoken with the [office of mayor and aldermen] about the situation that has arisen. [Monday] I will speak with the faction leaders. An acting mayor will start in the very short term on the way to a new procedure for a new crown-appointed mayor", Smit said to Omroep West after the meeting. 

According to Smit, the appointment of a new mayor usually takes around seven months. He does not want to rush the matter. "Carefulness is more important than speed."

Krikke announced her immediate resignation on Sunday following a week of scandals in the city. On October 1st, authorities raided the homes and offices of two Den Haag aldermen, a city councilor, and three other entrepreneurs. The civil servants are suspected of accepting bribes for issuing nightclub and catering permits, the entrepreneurs of paying those bribes. 

All of the politicians under suspicion come from the biggest political faction in Den Haag, Groep de Mos/Hart van Den Haag, including Richard de Mos, the party's namesake. That faction led a four-party ruling coalition which fell apart a day later because of the scandal, even though De Mos and alderman colleague Rachid Guernaoui said they would temporarily step down at Krikke's urging.

Later in the week, the Dutch Safety Board released a severely critical report on how the municipality of The Hague handled the New Year's bonfire in Scheveningen ten months ago. The massive bonfire, in combination with a strong westerly wind, caused dozens of small fires in Scheveningen during the early hours of New Year's Day.

According to the Safety Board, the municipality knew that the bonfire was built 10 meters higher than was agreed with the builders, but did nothing about it. The Safety Board also criticized the municipality for not putting the agreements made with builders into writing, and not issuing a permit for the bonfire. c

Pauline Krikke resigns from her post as Mayor of Den Haag in a video she published on October 6, 2019
Pauline Krikke resigns from her post as Mayor of Den Haag in a video she published on October 6, 2019Photo: Pauline Krikke/Instagram