Verdonk wants to be prime minister

3rd May 2006, Comments 0 comments

3 May 2006, AMSTERDAM — Immigration and Integration Minister Rita Verdonk wants to be prime minister should the Liberals (VVD) under her leadership emerge as the largest party after the general election in 2007.

3 May 2006

AMSTERDAM —  Immigration and Integration Minister Rita Verdonk wants to be prime minister should the Liberals (VVD) under her leadership emerge as the largest party after the general election in 2007.

Verdonk revealed her ambition to be the first female prime minister in the Netherlands during a VVD party meeting in Amsterdam late on Tuesday.  Should the Liberals not be the largest party after the election, Verdonk would sit as an MP in parliament.

There is a preliminary contest to fight before Verdonk can lead her party into the general election next May.

Verdonk is in a race with Higher Education Minister Mark Rutte for the position of political leader (Lijsttrekker) to lead the VVD parliamentary party into the general election. Some 40,000 VVD members are to choose between Verdonk, Rutte and MP Jelleke Veenendaal this month. The result will be announced on 1 June.

Dutch ministers are not members of parliament. Verdonk told the meeting in Amsterdam she would not resign her ministerial position to sit in parliament if elected Lijsttrekker.  "I will remain a minister to the end," she said.

Verdonk said she would combine her ministerial job with the position of Lijsttrekker. "It would not be easy...I will have to accept the consequences." Unlike Rutte, Verdonk has never been an MP. Rutte sat in parliament from 30 January 2003 to 27 May of that year when he was appointed junior minister at the Ministry of Education.

Verdonk used Tuesday's meeting to dispel rumours about her intentions. She would be number 2 or 3 on the list of Liberal candidates and would "work for the party" in the event she was not elected Lijsttrekker. She would never break away and set up her own party, Verdonk said.

[Copyright Expatica News + ANP 2006]

Subject: Dutch news

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