Health Min. Hugo de Jonge to lead CDA going into Parliamentary elections

Hugo de Jonge addressing supporters at the CDA party leader election, 15 July 2020
Hugo de Jonge addressing supporters at the CDA party leader election, 15 July 2020CDACDA

Hugo de Jonge will be leading the CDA in the parliamentary elections coming up next year. The current Minister of Public Health was elected by party members in the second round of voting, beating parliamentarian Pieter Omtzigt.

The election was very close. De Jonge got 50.7 percent of the votes, Omtzigt the other 49.3 percent, according to the CDA tally. "Incredibly exciting," De Jonge after the results were announced. "So close together."

He heaped praise on his rival in his acceptance speech, and pledged to work closely with Omtzigt in the eight months leading up to the Tweede Kamer elections, when the public will choose the makeup of the lower house of Dutch parliament. "We are going to do this together," the new CDA leader said.

Serving as both the Minister of Public Health, Welfare & Sport, and also as a Deputy Prime Minister to Mark Rutte, De Jonge will be in a position to win votes from the public for the government's successes in fighting the Covid-19 pandemic. He will also be a primary target of criticism for any mistakes made by the Cabinet during the crisis, and those in the public who were critical of how Rutte's third Cabinet imposed restrictions on Dutch society.

Nevertheless, De Jonge is considered the safe choice by many CDA members, according to Nu.nl, but he will have to work hard to convince Omtzigt's supporters to stand by him and the party, an analyst for RTL Nieuws said. During the brief CDA party election campaign, De Jonge quickly received public support from prominent party stalwarts like former CDA leader Sybrand Buma and Justice Minister Ferdinand Gapperhaus. 

During his campaign, De Jonge promised to strive for the political center and to connect different groups. He ruled out working with far-right nationalist parties FvD and PVV, saying that the tolerance collaboration with the PVV between 2010 and 2012 was traumatic enough.

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