The CDA wants to continue with the formation negotiations. Party leader Hoekstra said in a speech to members that, after a difficult period for his party, the temptation may be great to go into the opposition to “resource”, but he does not want to admit it.
“Its not easy in The Hague,” he noted, “because of the fragmentation and hardening. And if we as a party say, by definition, we dont participate, well make it even harder.” That is why he wants the CDA to continue to act constructively and take responsibility for the Netherlands.
Hoekstra dealt with his “slides” in the campaign, such as skating in Thialf when it was not allowed to do so due to corona. He said something about that yesterday. He went on to say that he was in front of Congress to take responsibility at “one of the hardest moments in our partys history,” and that he hasnt regretted saying yes to leadership for a moment.
The CDA leader said he has confidence in his partys future again. He thinks there is still a long way to go and that the CDA should start talking to each other again instead of each other. It doesnt help if CDA people keep questioning each others integrity, he said. According to him, there has been too little “mildness and mutual respect” since the PVV was built more than ten years ago.
Hoekstra also asked attention to “the most tireless go-getter” that The Hague believes is rich: corona minister Hugo de Jonge. He said he had great respect for the man who was initially chosen as a leader. Then followed a long, loud and highly deserved applause from the venue according to Hoekstra.
The congress started this morning and aims to mark a line under a difficult political year with a controversial leader election, followed by a leader change, a weak campaign and recently the departure of MP Pieter Omtzigt.
CDA Minister De Jonge pointed out at the beginning of the afternoon that problems occur in the best families and that it is good to talk them out at the “kitchen table”, like today at the Congress.
However, he believes that the CDA party leaders should be better handled, he said, looking back at the short time he was a leader. “All on the luggage carriers and Wopke alone on the stairs, thats not going to work,” he said. In other words, he thinks that the party foreman can use a little less criticism and more support.
CDA-prominent Liesbeth Spies said this morning that it was going to be an exciting congress. “We shouldnt think that today with a magic wand everything gets better again.”
Spies served as chairman of the committee earlier this year evaluating why the CDA elections went so badly. She drew harsh conclusions and said, among other things, that the party blamed the loss of four seats to itself. “We lost ourselves,” she reiterated today.
Painful Departure Omtzigt
Interim party chairman Marnix van Rij called Omtzigts departure “a very painful moment for the CDA and for him”. His remark that this was “not the outcome we wanted” led to a hard applause from the members in the room.
Van Rij said that in recent months there have been “big mistakes, even wrong on error” anyway. According to him, the state of the party was “very shocking”.
Criticism and Compliments
CDA members expressed harsh criticism of the party summit at the party congress. Among other things, “direct apologies from the party office to the great man Pieter Omtzigt” were asked, while others think that the party interest is “above the person”.
A CDA person in the room made a call not to join “Rutte, the liar of the fatherland”. Party Chairman Van Rij asked him to keep things tidy. Most CDA members give Hoekstra the green light to continue in the formation process. His speech was received positively in the room.