Attje Kuiken will lead PvdA, not just "mind the store"
Attje Kuiken also wants to be the political leader for the PvdA in the coming years. "I am available for that," she said shortly after being elected as faction leader in parliament by her party's members. The members will elect a new party leader in June.
Kuiken wants to do more than "mind the store," she stressed. According to her, there is too much work to be done in her party and in the country. She points out that provincial elections are coming up next year, which will also determine the voting proportions for the Senate.
The PvdA members elected Kuiken over Henk Nijboer in a vote. She succeeds Lilianne Ploumen, who resigned unexpectedly last week because she felt that the role of party leader did not suit her.
Kuiken is not yet sure whether she also wants to lead the party in the next parliamentary election. "We are not there yet. I've only been elected for half an hour." She also does not want to speculate on possible opponents. "We will see who will become party leader in two years, lukckly we have many to choose from."
Like her predecessor, LIlianne Ploumen, Kuiken wants to expand the collaboration with GroenLinks further. But she first wants to talk to her followers about how this should be shaped, including party members who are less enthusiastic about even closer left-wing cooperation.
Kuiken expects to soon receive an invitation from Prime Minister Mark Rutte to discuss the Spring Memorandum. The Cabinet has to close significant gaps in the budget, partly due to the war in Ukraine and compensation to people who paid too much tax on their assets in recent years.
However, Kuiken stressed that support from the PvdA is not automatic. The party will only go along with plans that actually reduce inequality in society and tackle significant problems in education and the affordability of housing and energy, among other things.
Kuiken was elected in one round of voting. She, therefore, feels very supported by her party. She also owes a lot of thanks to her opponent Henk Nijboer. "I feel supported, and it would have been the same the other way around."
Nijboer himself announced Kuiken enthusiastically. "Attje will lead our faction passionately, with conviction and above all, love in the coming years. I have every confidence in that, and I will do everything I can to support the faction and Attje in this. We will make something beautiful out of it."
Party chairman Esther-Mirjam Sent congratulated Kuiken. Sent has "the firm conviction that with her knowledge and experience, she can show that a fairer and more social policy in the Netherlands is possible." Sent said she was "incredibly proud" that the faction could choose "from two great candidates."
Reporting by ANP.