De Graaf rules out political return

6th April 2005, Comments 0 comments

6 April 2005, AMSTERDAM — Former Democrat D66 minister Thom de Graaf has ruled out a return to politics and admits he has not yet decided what he will do in the future.

6 April 2005

AMSTERDAM — Former Democrat D66 minister Thom de Graaf has ruled out a return to politics and admits he has not yet decided what he will do in the future.

Speaking on late-night talk show Barend & Van Dorp on television station RTL 4 on Tuesday night, De Graaf said he would first assess his situation before deciding what to pursue next.

Explaining his decision not to return to active politics, De Graaf pointed out that he resigned as D66 leader after the January 2003 elections, prior to his appointment as a minister. "Everything comes to an end at some point. But maybe I might become a member of the Senate when I am 70, just as in the case of Ed van Thijn."

He was referring to the Labour PvdA senator who was instrumental in a vote blocking D66 legislation two weeks ago that would have amended the Constitution allowing for the introduction of direct mayoral elections. De Graaf resigned the next day.
 
He repeated on Tuesday that his decision to resign as Minister for Government Reform and Kingdom Relations was made only when it became clear that his plans to reform the entire electoral system would not succeed either.

De Graaf said blamed this on resistance from the Christian Democrat CDA and Liberal VVD, the two larger parties in the centre-right coalition with D66.

The introduction of direct mayoral elections and electoral reform were the 'crown jewels' of the D66's democratic reform agenda. Failure to implement them proved a resounding setback for the party, which then demanded and won alternative policy concessions from the CDA and VVD.

D66's rank and file backed the accord at congress in The Hague last weekend, preventing the threatened collapse of the coalition government.

But it was too late to save De Graaf, who also admitted on Tuesday night that he had met with PvdA Senate leader Han Noten prior to the crucial Senate vote on 22 March. De Graaf expressed surprise that Noten has denied this meeting took place.

De Graaf claimed it took place at the insistence of PvdA leader Wouter Bos. On his own initiative — but with the foreknowledge of Bos — De Graaf also spoke with Van Thijn prior to the vote.

He remains convinced that Van Thijn — whose has served as a government minister and mayor of Amsterdam — purposefully prevented the constitutional amendment being passed. They discussions they had about the proposal were never going to succeed, De Graaf said.

De Graaf said he was "disappointed" by Van Thijn's stance, but not "embittered". Nor does he harbour any grudge against the D66. "I love the party," he said.

[Copyright Expatica News + ANP 2005]

Subject: Dutch news

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