Police must intervene at 50PLUS party conference
The general meeting of 50PLUS at the Reehorst conference center in Ede on Saturday morning quickly degenerated into a dispute that required police intervention. One of the consequences was that the party was unable to elect a party leader for the November 22 parliament elections.
Voorzitter Jorien vd Herik (ex-Feijenoord) van @50pluspartij heeft politie Ede gebeld om voorganger en kandidaat-lijsttrekker Gerard van Hooft uit de zaal te zetten waar nu het partijcongres plaatsvindt. Van Hooft staat nu op straat. Slaande ruzies weer bij de ouderenpartij 🪓🪓 pic.twitter.com/g8nI5t0OAn— Geert Dales (@DalesGeert63675) September 30, 2023
According to a spokesperson, the police led one person out "with light coercion." It concerns Gerard van Hooft, a former executive committee member and one of the candidates for party leadership, as Van Hooft himself confirmed to ANP. He was recently expelled from the main board and would therefore not have been welcome at the meeting.
As it has often been the case in the history of 50PLUS, the dispute revolves around the distribution of posts. The party leadership around chairman Jorien van den Herik wanted Zuid-Holland MP Ellen Verkoelen as party leader. But there were more candidates, Van Hooft says, and in his opinion, they were not given a fair chance to present themselves.
Van Hooft points out that Verkoelen was already number two on the electoral list for the Senate, behind 81-year-old Martin van Rooijen, who was re-elected as a senator earlier this year - against all odds. "If van Rooijen flips, then she gets in. And then she wants to get into the Tweede Kamer now."
According to Van Hooft, Van den Herik is "a first-class dictator" who would rather blow up the party than tolerate dissent. The chairman is said to have resigned from his post in the meantime. No one in the party leadership could be reached for comment.
50PLUS won one seat in the 2021 parliamentary elections under the leadership of party leader Liane den Haan. Den Haan, however, soon turned her back on the party and took her seat with her. Most polls give the party little chance of returning to the Tweede Kamer after the November elections.
Former party leader Henk Krol expressed "dismay" at the development and urged 50PLUS supporters to vote primarily for BVNL, the party of Wybren van Haga, which he recently joined. Judging by the polls, BVNL will also have to wait and see whether it will win a seat in parliament.
Reporting by ANP