least 18 years, Pieter Omtzigt was MP for the CDA. Now he has announced that he is canceding his membership in that party and continues as an independent MP. In recent years, Omtzigt has profiled himself as MP by (partly) revealing several affairs. He also tried to become a party leader last year in vain. All the effort took its toll: Omtzigt has been at home overstretched for months.
What did the last 18 years look like and what has Omtzigt led to the decision to leave? Its a timeline.
2003: the beginning
In the 2003 Chamber Elections, Omtzigt will be on the CDA list without any political experience, on the intercession of then leader and Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende. So far, Omtzigt is an econometrist. He is in an unelectable 51st place, it seems, but after the formation of the Balkenende II Cabinet-Balkenende II, he still enters the Chamber, when CDAs move to a cabinet post.
Already in that first period, Omtzigt is striking prominent partymates against the hair. Among other things, he has the portfolio of pensions and makes a point of the extensive pension scheme of Nout Wellink, President of De Nederlandsche Bank and CDAer.
In the following years, Omtzigt does not develop into an important MP. That is, not in the eyes of his party. In 2006, he ranked 37, four years later in the elections 29, and as the CDA is shrinking further and further, he does not enter the Chamber in 2010. Only when groups of groups move to a new cabinet, then Rutte I, will Omtzigt get a Chamber Seat.
In 2012, his first battle with the party board unfolds. The CDA wants to reverse the whole list and believes that primaries should be held by region. Omtzigt must compete in Overijssel from the party board against local companion Eddy van Hijum. But on the day of the preelection, the party suddenly says both of them are on the list. From Hijum in 7, Omtzigt relegates to place 39, and if you go on the polls at that moment, he wont be running.
But a personal campaign, built on Omtzigts popularity in Twente, makes him enter the Chamber anyway. 37,000 people vote for him. That year he is the only CDA member to come to the Chamber with preferential votes.
2012-2016: the terrier
In the reign of Rutte II, Omtzigt embraces the role of “biter”. Thanks to him, Secretary of State Weekers must resign from the VVD due to the so-called Bulgarian fraud. Omtzigt is also very critical of Weekers successor Eric Wiebes, after a failed reorganization of the Tax Administration. Part of the CDA blames Omtzigts critical attitude to Europe and the Association Treaty with Ukraine.
It does win him the Prinsjesprize in 2016. That prize goes to a parliamentarian who is important to parliamentary authority. “Foxterriers”, like Omtzigt, are “quickly seen by colleagues as a whining stocking that kicks everything up”. However, the jury states, “that attitude is essential to parliamentary authority and the stability of democracy”.
Mark Rutte has already met the man who is compared to different types of dogs (“terrier” and “pitbull”) as well as a fur louse. The flight crash MH17 in the summer of 2014 is one of Omtzigts files. He puts fire to the cabinet about why Dutch aircraft could fly over Ukraine. And hes annoyed that a memo does not go to the Research Council for Safety (OVV) after five questions.
2017: to the top
However, the MH17 file also almost triggers Omtzigts trap. In a hall full of next of kin, Omtzigt makes a Ukrainian suggest that not a Russian Buk missile, but a Ukrainian fighter aircraft shot MH17. He declares that he acted carelessly and withdraws from the MH17 file.
Meanwhile, many CDAs see his value as a MP and image as a biter. In 2017, he is ranked 4 in the election, but that he now appears to be part of the party summit and that the CDA joins the coalition again, does not see Omtzigt as a reason to take back gas. In fact, in this cabinet period, the subject that makes Omtzigts star as MP further emerges at the top of the political agenda.
2019: Affair surcharges
Thats the childcare benefit affair. Omtzigt plays a crucial role in exposing them. The issue revolves around thousands of parents who have been wrongly accused by the Tax Authorities of having fumbled with childcare supplements. Many people had to pay back (ten) thousands of euros to the tax authorities and, as a result, were sometimes very serious financial problems.
Omtzigt works closely with SP MP Renkse Leijten and with parents who were wrongly involved in fraud.accused of getting everything out of the water. Partly because of this he gets more and more reputation The surcharge affair ultimately leads to the fall of the Rutte III Cabinet in January 2021.
2020 – List of Contractors Election (s)
In June 2020, Omtzigt announced that he wants to become party leader of the CDA. At that time he is already in the CDA committee that drafted the election program. He takes on Mona Keijzer and Hugo de Jonge.
But before all votes are in, it becomes clear that the election has to be over. All members who voted should vote again because malicious people were able to automate false voices.
Ultimately, Omtzigt is defeated with a very small difference by De Jonge: he gets 50.7 percent of the vote in the decisive round and Omtzigt 49.3 percent. Later on, however, it appears that six reports were received at the CDA from members whose voting was wrong.
For example, Omtzigts wife said she thought she was voting for her husband, but the message received “thanks for your vote on Hugo de Jonge”. The CDA brings out a statement that shows that the reverse happened too. Yet Omtzigt wants clarification.
In December, De Jonge already withdraws as foreman of the Chamber List, but Omtzigt will not become the new party leader, although that would have been agreed with then party chairman Ploum. Wopke Hoekstra will become the new party leader, to the frustration of Omtzigt, dissatisfaction that became evident this week by the leakage of a secret Omtzigt memo.
From the list list elections, events around Omtzigt follow each other quickly.
February 2021 – overstrained
Omtzigt takes a bit of gas back. Hes number 2 of the CDA at that time, but hes overstretched and wants to “charge his battery”. “The past year has been eventful, with a lot of tricky, important, time-consuming files. And yes, rest is sometimes necessary and effective,” he writes on Twitter.
Later that month, his book A New Social Contract will be released, in which he looks back on, among other things, the surcharge affair. The book is immediately placed 2 in the Bestseller Top 60.
March 2021 – Support Campaign, Many Preferred Votes and Function Elsewhere
There is a support campaign for Omtzigt. Hundreds of maps and dozens of bunches of flowers were delivered to the CDA Group in his hometown of Enschede.
Omtzigt gets 342,472 preferential votes in the Parliamentary Elections. That is by far the highest number of non-list tractors. With this score, Omtzigt accounts for almost five room seats on its own. Hoekstra party leader comes to a total of 437,240 votes.
Later in March, Omtzigt will unintentionally be in the news. Explorer Kajsa Ollongren (D66) the Binnenhof leaves the Binnenhof after a positive corona-virus test and carries notes from the cabinet formation under the arm that appear to be visible. On an enlarged photo you can read: “Position Omtzigt: function elsewhere”.
That leads to a lot of commotion. The Chamber wants clarification and Omtzigt reacts furiously. Ollongren and co-scout Jorritsma step out as scouts. Later it turns out that it was Rutte who raised the position of the MP, although he may not remember that at first.
A series of debates will follow, which ultimately lead to a motion of mistrust against Rutte. Rutte does not get up, but wants to talk to Omtzigt in person. A conversation that is still waiting, because Omtzigt is still ill at home.
May 2021 – Replacement
On May 25th, Omtzigt will tweet that his recovery takes longer than he hoped for and that it hasnt really been able to rest. He is temporarily replaced as MP, at least four months.
June 2021 – secret memo
And last week. A 76 page Omtzigt secret memo comes out. The memo, which raises hard reproach to the CDA, is written for the Commission spies, which investigates the internal list tractor election.
The memo reveals that the MP has been scolded by party mates and that he feels unappreciated and unsafe. He reports, among other things, that partymates used epithets such as “jerk” and “teringdog” in apples for him. After the publication of the memo, the Binnenhof again arises unrest.
The leakage of the memo makes it even harder for Omtzigt to function within the CDA, writes on Twitter, linking conclusions: he cancels his membership.
Hell stay MP. “Just because a lot of people gave me that trust.”
The CDA Summit is shocked and disappointed to the news. “We tried to do everything we can to prevent this moment. It hurts us a lot as a party that it has to come to an end this way,” CDA leader Wopke wrote.Hoekstra and acting party chairman Marnix van Rij on Twitter.