Popular CDA MP Omtzigt taking 4 months of leave for exhaustion
CDA parliamentarian Pieter Omtzigt announced he will not be returning to the Tweede Kamer for another 16 weeks. Omtzigt said his medical condition has not yet improved to the degree he wanted, and will be temporarily replaced by Henri Bontenbal as a member of parliament in the upcoming period.
"Unfortunately, the recovery will take a little longer than I had hoped," Omtizgt wrote in a letter he published to Twitter. "Although I indicated that I really needed some rest, it hasn't worked."
The popular CDA member played a crucial role in exposing the benefits scandal in January which caused the third Cabinet of Mark Rutte to resign. Afterwards, it emerged that Rutte specifically discussed Omtzigt in early Cabinet formation talks after the election, suggesting he may have wanted the MP to be offered a job outside of government. Rutte then denied discussing the MP, which led to his censure by the Tweede Kamer.
"A number of plenary debates in parliament that were just a little too much about me and not about the very urgent problems of the Netherlands, as well as a long series of articles and speculations in the media about me, did not exactly give me any level of peace," Omtzigt explained.
He said he made the decision to take more time to recover after consultation with CDA leader Wopke Hoekstra and fellow parliamentarian Marnix van Rij. He explained that he needed to take a full 16 weeks off due to protocols, but noted he was expecting his condition to possibly improve even sooner.
"I am happy to work for the solution of urgent problems in the Netherlands, like pensions, taxes or with the plan for a new social contract, drawn up in response to the benefits scandal. However, I will only be able to do that once I have fully recovered," he concluded.
Omtzigt secured nearly 342,500 votes during the March election, the seventh highest of out of nearly 1,600 candidates for office. If Omtzigt formed his own party before the election, the vote total would have been enough to grab five seats in the lower house of Parliament.