Sigrid Kaag poised to take reigns at D66; Party leader to step aside
Rob Jetten will not take part in the race for party leadership of the D66, he announced on Tuesday in a letter to D66 members. Instead, he is throwing his support behind the candidacy of Sigrid Kaag, currently the Minister of Foreign Trade and Development cooperation.
Kaag announced her intention to take the reigns of the party on Sunday. "Because I believe - more than ever - that we are needed," Kaag said, according to NU.nl. "These are uncertain times. We are all looking for something to hold on to, a shared basis. And although I do not have all the answers, I am sure of one thing: it must be done differently. It must be better. It is time."
Jetten support Kaag's candidacy "with all my heart", he said. He sees in her an "experienced party leader" who can put the Netherlands on the international map and lead it out of the coronavirus crisis.
When former D66 leader Alexander Pechtold stepped down, Jetten took charge of the D66 faction in the Tweede Kamer, the lower house of Dutch parliament, but the role of party leader remained unfulfilled. Jetten previously made no secret of the fact that he was considering going for party leader too, but now decided against it. Though he stressed that he is not leaving politics. "I have only just started and am far from finished, he said. "This summer I will be happy to register for our candidate list" - for the parliamentary elections next year.
With Jetten's withdrawal, the party leader election appears to be just a formality. Kasja Ollongren previously dropped out due to health problems and no other serious candidates have yet come forward, according to NU.nl.
The candidacy is still open until August 3. D66 members will vote for their preferred leader between August 20 and September 2.