VVD race turns into a beauty pageant
12 May 2006, AMSTERDAM — The third debate in the race for leadership of the Liberal Party (VVD) confirmed on Thursday evening there are no significant political differences between the main candidates.
12 May 2006
AMSTERDAM — The third debate in the race for leadership of the Liberal Party (VVD) confirmed on Thursday evening there are no significant political differences between the main candidates.
Immigration Minister Rita Verdonk and Education junior minister Mark Rutte mainly clashed at the party meeting in Arnhem over tactics and the question of which of them would score best with the voters in the general election next year.
Verdonk contended that the difference between her and Rutte is eight seats. She based this view on recent opinion polls. But Rutte cited other polls to claim he would be the more popular leader. He said Verdonk only scores well among traditional Liberal voters, while he could attract support from the Labour Party (PvdA) and Christian Democrats (CDA).
Accusing Rutte of negative campaigning, the immigration minister said he had done the same when he led the party's campaign for the local elections in March. The anti-PvdA line he chose then damaged the VVD at the polls, she said.
Approximately 5,700 VVD members cast ballots by mail or internet on Wednesday, the first day of voting in the leadership race. The 40,000 members of the party have until 25 May to decide which of the candidates will lead the party into the 2007 general election. Party members can vote by mail, internet or telephone.
The winner of the contest will be announced at the Okura Hotel in Amsterdam on 31 May.
[Copyright Expatica News + ANP 2006]
Subject: Dutch news