A group of CDA members will argue this weekend at the party congress that the party should make an attempt at reconciliation with Pieter Omtzigt. But that seems unlikely. Omtzigt has indicated to the party top that the book is closed for him, sources report news hour.
So Omtzigt would really not want to go back to his old party. At the same time, he indicated that the CDA need not be afraid of competition for the time being. Omtzigt would not think about a new party now. He wants to return to the House of Representatives soon as a one-man faction and carry out his supervisory task there.
In the party it can therefore be heard that unsuccessful attempts have already been made to get Omtzigt back into the party. But next Saturday, several departments and networks at the congress will argue that a reconciliation attempt should be made.
Bart van Horck, of the CDA Midvoor network, is submitting a resolution on this. He says he hopes that his party will work with Omtzigt in a different way if necessary, if he really does not want to return to the group.
‘It has to be different’
In the run-up to the party congress, news hour with CDA members across the country. Criticism of the party’s course is heard from left to right, and it can be heard everywhere that things have to change, even in view of the disappointing polls.
For example, the Social Democracy Foundation organized several political cafes in the run-up to the congress. The meeting in Doetinchem was mainly attended by CDA members who are pro-Omtzigt. They believe that the party should become more popular and have a clearer profile.
Henriëtte van Hedel, spokesperson for the foundation, says: “I think that if we ask people on the street whether the country looks different because the CDA has been in government, nobody can really answer.”
Van Hedel also criticizes the party leadership. For example, Minister Bijleveld said this summer that things could have been prevented if Omtzigt had not returned to the CDA list after three terms. According to Van Hedel, this attitude of the minister shows that there is still a lack of self-reflection in the party leadership. Other attendees at the meeting say frankly that the party is in a ‘lousy’ state, that Hoekstra is ‘a Minerva man’ who does not connect and that the farmers’ supporters have been treated ‘stupidly’.
‘No right course’
The CDA board itself also wants to set a clearer course with the party. Former MP Chris van Dam advises not to take a right-wing course. He says, in the run-up to the congress, that he is surprised that the party is presenting itself in this way. “I find it very unfortunate that when people talk about right-wing parties these days, the CDA is also mentioned without breathing. We are a middle party.”
He therefore does not like the fact that his party excludes the left-wing bloc of PvdA and GroenLinks from the formation. He says that it is “quite complicated” to find and says that he has taken note of the blockade of Hoekstra with surprise.
Hoekstra must “flame”
In the CDA several people say aloud that Hoekstra must give ‘the speech of his life’ to unite the party. So there is a lot of pressure on Congress. CDJA chairman Tom Scheepstra also thinks Hoekstra should ‘flame’. He is confident that it will be possible to bring the different flanks in the match together.
At the top of the CDA party there are hopes that setting the CDA course again could have a binding effect. The board wants to make it clearer that the party is ‘not VVD-light’ and not liberal. Wopke Hoekstra will also emphasize this prior to the congress, it sounds like.
Stay in the room
Monday evening the new course was presented as Richard van Zwol envisioned it. He looked at that on behalf of the party. According to him, the three key points should become: ‘doing justice’, ‘living healthy’ and ‘connecting difference’.
To make the CDA sound recognizable again, people in the party leadership hope that Wopke Hoekstra will remain in the House of Representatives. There he could profile himself better than as third deputy prime minister. The party should, however, rule, they say. The fear is that with so many parties in the House of Representatives, the sound of the CDA will be lost in the opposition.]
Previously, political reporters Nynke de Zoeten and Jorn Jonker listed what happened behind the scenes at the CDA in recent years: