D66 big hitters leaving politics

4th August 2006, Comments 0 comments

3 August 2006, AMSTERDAM — Lousewies van der Laan, outgoing leader of the parliament group of D66, has announced she is leaving politics after the general election in November.

3 August 2006

AMSTERDAM — Lousewies van der Laan, outgoing leader of the parliament group of D66, has announced she is leaving politics after the general election in November.

The news broke on Friday morning, only hours after her predecessor Boris Dittrich announced he is also ending his Dutch political career.

Van der Laan told newspaper 'nrc.next' that leaving parliament was in the best interests of the party.

She was beaten in June by former Government Reform minister Alexander Pechtold in the race to lead D66 into the next election. There were only 257 votes between them.

They said afterwards that they would work together to revive the party's fortunes. But it appears now that the have different visions on how best to do that.

"Alexander and I could think about 100 points from our election manifesto that we agree on. But which three would be the main points? For Alexander, it is all about the relationship between the citizen and the government. Administrative reform is a component, but it would never be in my top three," she told the newspaper.

Van der Laan has been an MP for D66 since January 2003. She became interim leader of the party after Boris Dittrich's resignation over his stance on the military mission to Afghanistan. Van der Laan has also been a member of the European Parliament and a spokesperson for EU Commissioner Hans van den Broek.

On Thursday evening Dittrich, one of D66's six MPs, told news programme 'Netwerk' he will leave politics in November. He has been a member of parliament since 1994 and led D66 from January 2003 to February 2004.

Dittrich said he now wanted to try a new path. "Something with the United Nations would appeal to me, but that is still unclear. I am 51, so it is now or never," he said.

[Copyright Expatica News + ANP 2006]

Subject: Dutch news

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