Unrest in CDA not yet sworn, departments struggle with council elections

The Deurne department‘s closet has been waiting for a while: the bags, stickers, flags and posters for next year’s municipal elections. But it may be that the stuff stays in the closet. Because the CDA Deurne is in doubt.

Doubts whether or not to continue with the CDA. The department is still postpone such a drastic decision now, but is taking away from the national party for the time being. โ€œThe act of the national CDA is not in line with us,โ€ the council members say in a statement. โ€œWith the low point of how critical people in their own party are handled.โ€

Councilman Benny Munsters tells how members cancel membership in recent weeks. How volunteers started to doubt, there were discussions about the course of the party and people felt less comfortable.

โ€œThe fact that Pieter Omtzigt was forced to say goodbye to the party was the drop for many,โ€ says Munsters. โ€œAfter an accumulation of incidents around the list election, misses in the campaign, sponsorship money hassles and everything that happened around the surcharge affair.โ€

More CDA departments are struggling with the party‘s course and elections in March next year. There’s a lot of questions. Do the candidate lists arrive in time? Can they count on enough volunteers for the campaign? And what story do they go to the peasant in the elections?

With a very local story, most departments say to DecceIT.

Country-scrutinized

โ€œThe rumbling in The Hague doesn‘t do any good. It’s not fun to have to explain how now,โ€ says Hoorn CDA‘er Dick Bennis. โ€œBut in Hoorn we are going to focus on our local power full of energy. The C stands for constructive, cooperative and collegial.โ€

What Bennis believes helps is that the party is well rooted locally. And has a โ€œlarge network of active members and volunteersโ€.

That network is indeed there, says a CDA player in the west of the country, who wants to remain anonymous. โ€œBut what has been built up for years has crumbled by rural rap.โ€ For him, that started when the CDA in North Brabant started with Forum for Democracy. โ€œIn our name is the D of democracy, but as far as I’m concerned, it had little to do with it.โ€

According to him, the party remains too quiet about major themes such as nitrogen and climate. โ€œFear of the supporters does not come a clear choice.โ€

Another CDA player in the north of the country fears that choice. โ€œHere people have felt abandoned by the party for years. A smaller livestock? A smaller CDA.โ€

Aware of all turmoil and divisions, interim party chairman Marnix van Rij travels across the country for conversations. The day after the release of the letter of twenty departments – which calls on the board to stop working with Rutte – he visits the Heerlense Marco Peters. Peters is one of the authors of the letter and has long been active in Heerlen, at a โ€œrebellious departmentโ€ as he calls it himself. His message: that the CDA should be โ€œback to ordinary peopleโ€ above all.

โ€œI come to people‘s home and discuss what’s happening,โ€ Peters says. Actually pretty much what Van Rij does now. โ€œI‘m a bit allergic to say it, but it was a good conversation.โ€

Peters feels heard, he says Van Rij โ€œreally monitorsโ€ what needs to change. โ€œReinvent the party. Modernize from the inside.โ€

High time before that, the Hague group chairman Kavish Partiman also thinks. โ€œNew elections are at the doorstep. Omtzigt’s gone, it hurts. But his story of power and counterpower stands like a house.โ€

Partiman pushes the party to give Omtzigt‘s ideals a โ€œvery centralโ€ place in the new course. In the local Hague campaign, at least they intend to do it.

Congress September 11

First is now waiting for the Commission spies evaluation on 9 July, on last spring’s campaign and elections. Many doubtful departments then hope for a convincing story from the board at the conference on September 11.

The Foundation for Social Christian Democracy called for that congress and is concerned. โ€œWe really want an accountability conference,โ€ says President Henriรซtte van Hedel. โ€œAbout the way in the campaign, the sponsor funds, how Omtzigt was handled.โ€ She fears not all those answers will come.

Benny Munsters from Deurne hopes it. โ€œIf the national CDA can repack itself, we might be able to stay with the CDA. Continuing incidents accumulate, fork off is still not ruled out.โ€