Green Left leader Femke Halsema leaves politics

18th December 2010, Comments 0 comments


Green Left leader Femke Halsema has resigned after serving more than 12 years as MP. At a news conference, she said the time had come for her to hand over. The parliamentary party has chosen Jolande Sap to replace her.

In November Ms Halsema 44 announced this was to be her last term as MP. She joined parliament in 1988. In 2002, she became parliamentary party leader and party leader.

Transient Ms Halsema recalled it was not the first time she said politicians should be transients and not get stuck to their parliamentary seats. 'For a transient, I've become too settled and seasoned.'

Since June's elections, she added, Green Left has a new parliamentary party that is strong, well prepared and brimming with creative ideas. She praised her successor, Jolande Sap, as 'composed, convinced and wise', saying she had quickly matured as a political generalist.

Disappointment Ms Halsema had hoped that June's elections would allow her party to govern for the first time. She asked voters to provide her with 15 seats in parliament. In the end, the party won 10, three more than it had. Even so, coalition talks with the conservative VVD, Labour and the democrat party D66 ended in failure, much to her disappointment.

Delightful person Prime Minister Mark Rutte of the VVD voiced regret at her departure. 'She is a formidable politician with a perfect mastery of many subjects', the prime minister said. He praised Ms Halsema for thinking in a 'pretty autonomous way' and modernising her party. In addition, she is 'simply a delightful person', Mr Rutte said.

Geert Wilders In a reaction, anti-Islam PVV leader Geert Wilders said: 'I disagreed with pretty much everything Femke Halsema said but she was a good debater and a solid political opponent. I wish her all the best and wish Jolande Sap great success.'

University Ms Halsema has accepted a post as professor at Tilburg University. She says she is writing a book.


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