Independent Dutch lawmaker Pieter Omtzigt has launched his own political party but ruled out running for the prime minister post ahead of elections in November.
(Bloomberg) — Independent Dutch lawmaker Pieter Omtzigt has launched his own political party but ruled out running for the prime minister post ahead of elections in November.
“Our country has big problems and they call for a new way of doing politics,” Omtzigt said in a video message on social media platform X on Sunday. His new party will be called the ‘New Social Contract,’ he said.
A former member of the Christian Democrat party, Omtzigt rose to prominence after he played a key role in uncovering a childcare subsidies scandal that sent thousands of people into poverty and resulted in kids being separated from their parents and placed in foster homes. That led to the collapse of Prime Minister Mark Rutte’s third government in December 2020.
Omtzigt, whose popularity was reflected in an EenVandaag Poll last month that showed him as the leading candidate to replace Rutte, told local newspaper Tubantia on Sunday that he doesn’t want to become prime minister. Omtzigt said his place remains in parliament where he can act as group chairman to lead the new party and that he is prepared to join a coalition government, if needed.
Read more: Here Are the Main Contenders to Replace Rutte as Dutch Premier
The Netherlands is scheduled to hold elections on Nov. 22 after the collapse of Rutte’s fourth coalition government due to infighting over the migrant crisis. The government’s fall was followed by Rutte’s surprise decision to leave politics, creating a political vacuum in the country, with several possible contenders to take over from the Netherlands’ longest-serving premier.
Omtzigt’s party will compete against Rutte’s center-right VVD party, which named Dilan Yesilgoz-Zegerius as its new leader. Other potential candidates for the role of prime minister include Caroline van der Plas, the leader of the populist Farmer-Citizen Movement and Frans Timmermans, who is running for the leader of the Left alliance.
A recent poll by Ipsos/EenVandaag shows the VVD narrowly beating the merged left parties by one seat.
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