Sigrid Kaag has been elected D66’s list leader. Nobody doubted that the members of the party wanted her as the new leader. Kaag had one challenger: the unknown Ton Visser, who was never seen as a candidate in the list leader election.
Kaag received 95.7 percent of the votes and Visser 3.1 percent, announced D66. The other members voted blank. Kaag is grateful to the voters for the trust, she says: “It is a privilege to be the political leader of our beautiful and dynamic party”
The 58-year-old Kaag, who is Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation, stood for election in June. She said she wanted to be Prime Minister. “If you’re in, you have to go for the highest office.” Her party would like to deliver the first female prime minister of the Netherlands.
Kaag sees it as an assignment for the political leaders to help the Netherlands out of the crisis. In addition, she wants to “build a more sincerely tolerant society together”, in which there is no place for racism. Furthermore, she believes that the Netherlands should play “a role” in Europe and the rest of the world.
Those three things, she said in June, are for her the dot on the horizon, where she wants to work towards. She doesn’t want to be led too much by the delusion of the day. “The daily happens to you anyway, but without a direction, without a vision you usually get stuck where you already were.”
“No party tiger
Kaag calls herself “no party tiger”. She was flown in by D66 in 2017 to join the cabinet. At that time she had no political experience, but she did have a long career as a diplomat at the United Nations. Among other things, she led the mission that had to lead to the destruction of chemical weapons in Syria.
“I think it’s important that people from society in particular make themselves available for public office,” she said. “And not just people who have built their whole lives in the Inner Court. That’s one world, but it’s not the whole of society.” She pointed out that she worked in peace and wartime and helped to rebuild countries.
Sigrid Kaag speaks six languages, including Arabic. She lived in Switzerland, Jordan, the United States and Lebanon. Since the departure of the previous party leader of D66, Alexander Pechtold, her name has been sung around as a possible successor.