Departure Ploumen: Who will get the PvdA out of trouble after a serious decision about itself?

The announcement by Lilianne Ploumen that she would leave as party leader of the PvdA and Member of Parliament fell like a bolt from the blue on Tuesday. Party workers and other party members were surprised and disappointed.

PvdA members only heard of their departure this morning. Hatice Arib was informed on Monday evening. Henk Nijboer and Attje Kuiken have already been called by Ploumen as board members of the group. For a while, only Ploumen’s spokesperson was aware of his suspicions.

There was no immediate reason for Ploumen’s departure. No elections were lost but won, and there was hardly any muttering within the party.

Almost. For the Ploumen was not the electoral weapon that the party had long dreamed of. The 2021 monster couldn’t make up for the 2017 loss and the poll trends have been off for years.

The PvdA was once a mass left-wing party, but is now doomed to a marginal role in the fragmented political landscape.

Nijboer: ‘He was there in difficult times’

As an opposition party, you constantly have to be heard loud and clear to get attention, and that’s the problem for Ploumen. It went too far for Ploumen to take the lead and form an opinion on all subjects, and to distinguish himself in election and parliamentary debates. “I don’t think I can live with that enough,” he said on Tuesday.

It’s a heavy self-judgment, but no surprise to anyone. When asked whether PvdA MP Nijboer thought he was a good leader, his answer was probably this: “He was there in difficult times.

The party leader’s crest does not suit him, but the PvdA member still fits him like a glove. “Social policy is deep within me,” says Ploumen. From 2007 to 2012, he was party chairman, then minister of Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation in the second Rutte cabinet, and then deputy opposition leader Lodewijk Asscher for four years.

When Asscher resigned just before the elections last year because of his role in the welfare scandal, Ploumen was suddenly asked to take over. Less than ideal change of direction due to insufficient preparation. But Ploumen didn’t have much choice, he thought, and the party is in trouble. “So you say yes.”

And now?

In the short term, the House of Representatives will elect a new party leader from among the members of the group. That will probably be decided next week.

In view of the PvdA election list and the number of preferential votes obtained, Arib, Nijboer and Kuiken are eligible. Kati Piri is also a candidate.

The new party leader does not have to be the new political leader in the next parliamentary elections in 2025. Party chairman Esther-Mirjam Sent wants to choose a party leader by then.

In the corridors, all the usual suspects are called Ahmed Aboutaleb (mayor of Rotterdam) and European Commissioner Frans Timmermans. We’ll see if they also want to face each other in a mutual war. The recent internal elections between Diederik Samsom and Asscher were disastrous and only resulted in losers.

Left-wing cooperation in danger?

In any case, the task is great. Collaboration with GroenLinks is one of the priorities of both parties. Ploumen is a strong supporter of this idea and has taken the lead in the PvdA.

GroenLinks leader Jesse Klaver is not concerned that Ploumen’s successor will be less enthusiastic about this. “She surpasses Lilianne Ploumen and me,” he responded. “Our party leaders are working on it, and so are our parties in the Senate and House of Representatives. It’s really wider. So it goes on.”

However, personal contact is important for this project, as long as a merger, in whatever form, is not yet on paper. Klaver described Ploumen as his “political friend”. It remains to be seen whether that click is also there with his successor.

Source: NU