Views on Verdonk's departure divided

14th September 2007, Comments 0 comments

14 September 2007, AMSTERDAM – Opinions on Verdonk's departure from the VVD are strongly divided. Voters in particular seem to disapprove of Mark Rutte's move to expel the former immigration minister, if surveys by Maurice de Hond are to be believed.

14 September 2007

AMSTERDAM – Opinions on Verdonk's departure from the VVD are strongly divided. Voters in particular seem to disapprove of Mark Rutte's move to expel the former immigration minister, if surveys by Maurice de Hond are to be believed.

A majority of VVD voters (59 percent) thinks that VVD faction leader Mark Rutte should step down. About 52 percent does not agree with the faction's decision to expel Rita Verdonk.

This emerged on Thursday evening from a poll by Maurice de Hond carried out for television programme Netwerk. A narrow majority of VVD voters (52 percent) hopes that other VVD MPs will also leave the faction and possible form a Verdonk group.

Such a group could count on a great deal of support. Just over half (51 percent) of VVD voters say they are very likely, if not entirely certain, that they will vote for Verdonk in the next elections.

Former VVD deputy prime minister Gerrit Zalm said on Netwerk last night that he found the development unfortunate, but deemed the VVD faction's decision to expel Verdonk as inevitable.

"At a certain point you just cannot continue on together," Zalm said. "I think things will settle down now."

The former finance minister does think that Verdonk has a "moral right" to hold on to her seat in Parliament, in light of the high number of preferential votes she received in the last elections.

Rutte is expected to get a lot of criticism from within the VVD at the party conference this weekend. One insider predicts a "bloodbath." Voices in the party are apparently calling for MP and former minister Henk Kamp to take over leadership of the party.

Kamp has been home on sick leave for some time but sources on Thursday say he has been consulted on the Verdonk matter.

[Copyright Expatica News + ANP 2007]

Subject: Dutch news

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