Lilianne Ploumen resigns as Labour leader, parliamentarian
Lilianne Ploumen resigned as leader of the PvdA with immediate effect. She is also giving up her seat in parliament, she said in a statement. "The leadership of the party does not suit me well, and I am therefore not the ideal leader for our party," she said.
Ploumen succeeded Lodewijk Asscher at the beginning of last year. He resigned because of his role one the childcare allowance scandal. A few months after taking over leadership of the PvdA, Ploumen led the party through the parliamentary elections, where the PvdA remained on the nine seats it had since 2017.
She writes that as a party leader, it is "important to be leading and opinion-forming on all topics. Not only to be a leader who can open up The Hague for what is going on in our country and the world, but also one who is adept in the parliamentary debate. I don't think I can live up to that well enough, and that's why I'm stepping down."
Ploumen also resigns as a parliamentarian because she does not want to "get in the way of the faction and its successor. I will not become the oracle from Slotervaart but remain what I was all those years, a committed party member."
Under Ploumen's leadership, the PvdA intensified left-wing collaboration with GroenLinks. In the formation process last year, the two parties would only participate in negotiations together. That ultimately led to the VVD and CDA keeping the door closed to the left-wing parties.
Also after Rutte assembled his fourth Cabinet, the PvdA and GroenLinks continued to work together. This did not go down well with all members of the parties. Former PvdA chairman Hans Spekman was very critical. And GroenLinks MP Bart Snels resigned in October, blaming the collaboration with the PvdA for his departure and calling it "a form of voter fraud."
Ploumen said in her statement that she is "proud" of the "breakthrough in left-wing, progressive cooperation." She also predicted that "the alliance between the Labour Party and GroenLinks will deepen and broaden further."
GroenLinks leader Jesse Klaver called Ploumen "a driving force behind the cooperation" between the two parties, speaking on Twitter. He called Ploumen his "political friend" and said he assumes he will continue to collaborate with her successor.
The PvdA board and party chairman Esther-Mirjam Sent were surprised by Ploumen's resignation. They are saddened, but respect her choice, Sent said. "We are extremely grateful to her for all the years she committed herself to our party."
Sent praised Ploumen for her dedication to fighting for the most vulnerable in society as party leader, Minister of Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation, and parliamentarian. She also stressed that Ploumen stood up as party leader "when our party was struggling." "She campaigned with unbridled energy for a fairer and more social Netherlands. She gave impetus to the left-wing collaboration with the conclusion of the progressive opposition agreement and showed in a time of political division and fragmentation that you can achieve more together than alone," Sent said.
According to her, the parliamentary faction will select a new chairman shortly. They'll be nominated as acting political leader at the congress in June. The PvdA members may later choose a party leader, who will then become the political leader.
Reporting by ANP