In a leaked, confidential document CDAer Pieter Omtzigt comes with a number of harsh reproaches towards his own party. The MP describes that he felt unsafe, was passed as a leader and that his followers within the party encountered opposition.
A look at the most striking passages in the 76 page document, which according to political reporter Arjan Noorlander reads as “an indictment not against his political enemies but against his political friends”.
Omtzigt opens his memo with an introduction in which he describes that the recent problems at the CDA are “not incidents but symptoms of much greater structural problems in the CDA”.
The scandal with the childcare allowance is “the most explosive process”, writes Omtzigt, which means that the Member of parliament “does not always feel appreciated and at a number of times even downright unsafe”.
He refers to an annex containing fragments and screenshots of communication between CDA group members and members. Among other things, after a performance on television programme Op1, he was scolded, according to the shared WhatsApp conversations.
In the paragraph on the payment scandal, Omtzigt describes how he experienced little support in demonstrating abuses in the Tax Administration. On the contrary: “[The ministers] are obsessed with imaging and speak with much less involvement about parents, who are in enormous problems due to government acts,” writes Omtzigt.
From leaked, and later revealed, minutes of the Council of Ministers from 2019 it became clear that several times in the Council of Ministers were critical of MPs who wanted information about the payment affair. Hoekstra said that he tried to sensitize Omtzigt, to reason. That revelation calls Omtzigt in the memo “disconcerting”.
The pressure he experienced inhibited Omtzigt in his work. “At some point I was afraid of phone calls if I had asked parliamentary questions about the case, but I just had to.”
List Pullship deprived
In June 2020, Omtzigt announced that he wanted to become the leader of the CDA. At that time, he was already on the CDA committee that drew up the election program. The chairman of that committee felt that Omtzigt should give up that position, writes the politician.
Ultimately, the list election is won by Hugo de Jonge, Omtzigt ends second. In December De Jonge withdraws as the foreman of the Chamber List, according to Omtzigt under pressure from the CDA summit. It did not lead to Omtzigt becoming the new leader, although this would have been agreed with the former CDA chairman Ploum.
Omtzigt describes how the board makes it clear that Wopke Hoekstra will become the new leader:
Next, Omtzigt is taken to Hoekstra to discuss with each other, he writes. Journalists have already been gathered in front of the house of Hoekstra, which makes Omtzigt feel “put in front of the block”. “Before I have spoken a word with Wopke, I have to make a statement in front of the cameras about his nomination as a leader.”
The CDA person then writes how he tries to prevent his party from entering the elections with an “empty agenda”. However, Omtzigt experiences that he is “half involved”. Thus, his preferred candidates, including Chris van Dam, will not be able to stand on the electoral list.
Further in the memo, Omtzigt describes that at least three candidates for the CDA list were asked to whom they voted in the list election: De Jonge or Omtzigt. They indicated to support Omtzigt and then came lower on the list than they expected, writes Omtzigt.
Doubts about financing
Another striking section is about the financing of the CDA. Omtzigt writes that he wants to return to the sponsorship “separately and confidentially”, but in the memo he already mentions his concerns about the possible power of three major sponsors, who together account for almost one million euros for the campaign budget.
Interim party chairman Marnix van Rij says in a first response that he categorically reject that the support of financially powerful sponsors has led to an influence on the CDA programme. Furthermore, he “forcefully renounces the CDA-unworthy” statements that would have been made about Omtzigt.