Omtzigt criticized for flip-flopping on whether or not he wants to be PM
NSC leader Pieter Omtzigt received criticism from his poll rivals Dilan Yeşilgöz (VVD) and Frans Timmermans (GroenLinks-PvdA) over his flip-flopping on whether or not he wants to be Prime Minister. Yeşilgöz said that endless hesitation isn’t a leadership quality, and Timmermans criticized the lack of clarity.
On Sunday, Omtzigt said on a broadcast of Buitenhof that he was prepared to lead a Cabinet of specialist Ministers if that were to be created and NSC became the largest party. But he still explicitly kept the option open to enter the Tweede Kamer, the lower house of the Dutch parliament.
Last week, Omtzigt seemed to indicate that he planned to be a parliamentarian. He also said he wouldn’t announce the NSC’s candidate for Prime Minister until after the election. That followed weeks of Omtzigt not addressing whether he wanted to lead the government or which candidate he had in store for the position if the NSC became the largest.
On X, Yeşilgöz said leadership means “making choices, making decisions. Not endless hesitation or coming up with vague magic formulas. Leading this country is an honor, not something you do reluctantly. If you don’t want to become Prime Minister, that’s fine, but just say so.”
Earlier this month, Yeşilgöz had already urged Omtzigt for clarity. She believes that the voter “has the right to know” whether Omtzigt had the ambition to become Prime Minister or not.
Timmermans also criticized the lack of clarity but did not want to waste too many words on Omtzigt’s change of tone. “He is now choosing a different line. At first, he didn’t want it, but now he does.” Timmermans joked that Omtzigt “varies in his clarity,” speaking to the assembled press, including ANP, in Haarlem after a campaign event.
Omtzigt’s idea for a Cabinet of only specialist Ministers can’t count on TImmermans’ immediate enthusiasm. “You can acquire knowledge through employees. You have to bring the character yourself,” he said, paraphrasing former Chancellor Helmut Kohl.
NSC has dropped slightly in the polls. After being the biggest party for weeks, the NSC has fallen below the VVD. The top three are still VVD, NSC, and GroenLinks-PvdA, with small margins. But on Saturday, Maurice de Hond predicted a significant win for the PVV, which could put Geert Wilders’ far-right party at the top with the VVD.