Netherlands

Eighteen years of Pieter Omtzigt in the CDA: from ‘terrier’ to ‘tering dog’

Pieter Omtzigt was a member of parliament for the CDA for at least 18 years. He has now announced that he will resign from that party and continue as an independent MP. In recent years, Omtzigt has profiled himself as a Member of Parliament by (partly) bringing to light several affairs. He also tried unsuccessfully last year to become party leader. All the effort took its toll: Omtzigt has been at home for months, stressed out.

What were the past 18 years like and what made Omtzigt decide to leave? A timeline.

2003: the beginning

In the parliamentary elections of 2003, Omtzigt without any political experience on the CDA list, on the intercession of the then leader and prime minister Jan Peter Balkenende. Until then, Omtzigt has been an econometrician. He is in an unelectable 51st place, it seems, but after the formation of the Balkenende II cabinet, he will still enter the House, if CDA members move on to a cabinet post.

Already in that first period, Omtzigt is irritating prominent party members. His portfolio includes pensions and makes a point of the generous pension scheme of Nout Wellink, president of De Nederlandsche Bank and CDA member.

2006-2012: back bench

In the years that followed, Omtzigt did not develop into an important Member of Parliament. That is, not in the eyes of his party. In 2006 he was in 37th place in the elections, four years later in 29th place. Because the CDA is shrinking further and further, in 2010 he will not be in the House of Representatives in the first instance. Only when group members move on to a new cabinet, then Rutte I, will Omtzigt still receive a seat in parliament.

In 2012, his first battle with the party leadership unfolds. The CDA wants to change the entire list and believes that primaries should be held per region. Omtzigt has to compete in Overijssel from the party board against fellow countryman Eddy van Hijum. But on the day of the primary, the party suddenly says that both will be on the list. Van Hijum in 7th place, Omtzigt relegated to 39th place. Judging by the polls at that time, he is not eligible.

But a personal campaign, built on Omtzigt’s popularity in Twente, ensures that he is still in the Chamber. 37,000 people vote for him. That year, he is the only CDA member to enter the House with preferential votes.

2012-2016: the terrier

In the reign of Rutte II, Omtzigt embraces the role of ‘biter’. Partly thanks to him, State Secretary Weekers of the VVD has to resign because of the so-called Bulgarian fraud. Omtzigt is also very critical of Weekers’ successor Eric Wiebes, after a failed reorganization of the tax authorities. Part of the CDA resents Omtzigt’s critical stance on Europe and the association agreement with Ukraine.

It does earn him the Prinsjesprijs in 2016. That prize goes to a parliamentarian who is important for the authority of the parliament. “Fox Terriers”, such as Omtzigt, are “quickly seen by colleagues as a whiner that messes up everything”. But, the jury said, “that attitude is essential to the authority of parliament and the stability of democracy”.

Mark Rutte has also already met the man who is compared to different dog species (“terrier” and “pit bull”) and to a louse in the fur. The air disaster with flight MH17 in the summer of 2014 is one of Omtzigt’s files. He puts the cabinet to the bone about the question of why Dutch aircraft were still able to fly over Ukraine. And he is annoyed that a memo about this is only sent to the Dutch Safety Board (OVV) after five questions.

2017: on to the top

However, the MH17 file also almost leads to Omtzigt’s fall. In a room full of relatives, Omtzigt has a Ukrainian suggest that it was not a Russian Buk missile that shot down a Ukrainian fighter plane MH17. He declares that he acted carelessly and withdraws from the MH17 file.

Many CDA members now see his value as a Member of Parliament and image as a biter. In 2017 he is in fourth place in the elections, Omtzigt does not see the fact that he now seems to belong to the party top and that the CDA is rejoining the coalition. In fact, in this cabinet term, the subject that raises Omtzigt’s star as a Member of Parliament will rise to the top of the political agenda.

Eighteen years of Pieter Omtzigt in the CDA: from ‘terrier’ to ‘tering dog’
Source link Eighteen years of Pieter Omtzigt in the CDA: from ‘terrier’ to ‘tering dog’

Back to top button