By far most Dutch people do not have to leave the cabinet because of the payment affair, according to a poll. In the same research, PVDA leader Lodewijk Asscher comes down a lot less graciously. A quarter thinks he should resign his duties.
Also from his own constituents sounds firm criticism. A large group of members of the Labour Party supports a motion to send Asscher away. The applicant is Francisca Drijver, a member of the PVDA at heart. Asscher fell off his pedestal for her. “He is partly responsible for what happened to the child‘s supplements. You can’t get away with a ‘sorry’, no matter how well-intentioned.”
Last week Asscher told Nieuwsuur that he thinks it is “right” for Pvda‘ers to take on the payment affair. “It’s about a group we want to represent. Working people who do their best and then get crushed by the government. That‘s why it hits us so much.”
But he also said he wouldn’t leave. In a new coalition he wants to fight the excesses that led to the scandal, he said. He wants to “repair” the welfare state and make the government “again ally” the people who were wrongly treated as fraudsters.
“You can‘t bring the dead to life.”
But for Drijver Asscher can’t do it right anymore. “Victims of the payment affair have committed suicide out of pure misery, you are partly responsible for that. That he says to fix it, I‘m sorry, Louis, so he can’t. You can‘t bring the dead back to life.”
Once she had the hundred expressions of support needed to put the motion to the vote, she received many more reactions and support, she says. Until today, members were able to vote digitally on these and other motions. Tomorrow morning it will be clear how many have voted in favour. Saturday is the party congress where the motions are discussed where there is no convincing majority for or against.
“Not one person to shameful”
Despite all the support for Drijvers motion, it seems that most of the Pvda members want Asscher to stay. In another motion, 400 members, including party leaders, have called on him to stay on the right.
Pieter Paul Slikker is the author of that motion. “It is very nice if we can designate one person who takes account, steps away and that everything is fixed. The problem is that that’s not true,” he says. “We‘re going to have to dig deep and learn lessons with each other, but we’re not going to do that if one person is shameful.”
But Drijver sees sending Asscher away as a necessity to remain credible as a party. “The payment affair remains attached to him and therefore also to the PvdA. Then you get effect from Kok‘s quarter, which was actually Salmon’s quarter, but after twenty years still haunts us. That is now lurking again.”