Verdonk poised to enter VVD leadership race

4th April 2006, Comments 0 comments

4 April 2006, AMSTERDAM — Immigration and Integration Minister Rita Verdonk has decided she is ready to lead the Liberal Party (VVD) into the next general election, it was reported on Tuesday.

4 April 2006

AMSTERDAM — Immigration and Integration Minister Rita Verdonk has decided she is ready to lead the Liberal Party (VVD) into the next general election, it was reported on Tuesday.

Verdonk is to announce officially on Wednesday whether she will enter the contest for the position of lijsttrekker (election leader).

In an interview with business magazine 'Elsevier' to be published on Wednesday Verdonk declares: "I'm going for it. I have spoken with my family, friends and party colleagues about it. I say loud and clear: Yes, let's go". The 'let's go' is in English for emphasis.

Verdonk tells the magazine she will distinguish herself in three areas: doing what you promise, making the Netherlands more business-like, coupled with less bureaucracy and substantial tax cuts.

She has already approached someone to lead her campaign for the internal election among VVD members, a VVD source told the media on Monday night. The winner of the 'lijsttrekker' contest will be announced on 31 May.

The vacancy arose when MP Jozias van Aartsen resigned as leader of the VVD's parliamentary party following the local elections on 7 March. Finance Minister Gerrit Zalm, who was VVD lijsttrekker in the 2003 election, had already indicated he didn't want to lead the party into the 2007 election.

Junior Education minister Mark Rutte quickly emerged as the favourite to become the new 'lijsttrekker' as Verdonk said she would not be a candidate for the job.

Last week Verdonk revealed she was after all considering entering the race. Verdonk said on radio programme 'De Ochtenden' she has been contacted by party colleagues and local branches asking her to be a candidate for the 'lijsttrekker' position.

She said she would talk to her family and party members over the weekend before taking a decision.

If Verdonk runs she will be up against Rutte and MP Jelleke Veenendaal.

[Copyright Expatica News + ANP 2006]

Subject: Dutch news

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