VVD Congress bids farewell to Mark Rutte with standing ovation
New VVD leader Dilan Yeşilgöz thanked her predecessor Mark Rutte in her first speech to VVD members. "The Netherlands owes so much to you," she said at the election congress. "In the crisis, Rutte was always there, day and night, always." A long, standing ovation for Rutte followed.
Kijk mee naar de speech van onze lijsttrekker Dilan Yeşilgöz-Zegerius op het VVD-verkiezingscongres. https://t.co/QZ0JTvdA3s— VVD (@VVD) September 23, 2023
Yeşilgöz said politicians have been far too preoccupied with themselves in recent years. "Let's leave the old politics behind," she said.
In her speech, she outlined her vision for the Netherlands. As far as she is concerned, the country should "become a country again where the government doesn't interfere in everything. A country that doesn't tell you how to live your life. It doesn't treat people as victims. But rather believes in their strength."
In her opinion, the Netherlands should also be a country that sets limits to "protect our freedom. This is a country I believe in." That's not a given, she said, "It's something you have to fight for every day."
Before she began her speech, Yeşilgöz received a standing ovation from the party members, which visibly moved her.
Overall, the Rutte IV Cabinet of VVD, D66, CDA, and Christian Union fell on July 7 over the asylum approach. If that had not happened, a "watery compromise" would have emerged that "wouldn't make a difference," Yeşilgöz said on the KRO-NCRV TV program College Tour.
After the VVD party leader recently opened the door to cooperation with PVV leader Geert Wilders, she received a lot of criticism. Outgoing Prime Minister Mark Rutte had finally closed that door years ago.
Yeşilgöz finds the statements about Moroccans by the PVV leader "then and still disgusting. But we are at a new moment in politics, with so many new political leaders. You have to make a change somewhere, make a fresh start, and look ahead."
The new VVD leader does not agree with the PVV's election program on many points, but she is waiting for the campaign and the elections. Then it must be determined "with what intentions we sit down at the table together."
Reporting by ANP