Liane den Haan, ex-50Plus and now a member of parliament on her own, did not think it was worth a news report: that she is ‘seriously considering’, as the NOS reported last week, to join another faction in the House of Representatives. Three parties would have already asked her. “Isn’t it news until I do it?”
And she doesn’t, she says after a working visit to a pharmacy this Monday afternoon. We walk from the pharmacy, in a suburb of Woerden, to a cafe in the center where she has met the lobbyists who had organized the working visit. And if we get there after about ten minutes, she might do it anyway. The parties that want to have her there, she says, find her “nuanced and substantive”. According to her, all three parties are “not angling for an extra seat”. All three have “enough seats”.
She is also thinking about a new party of her own. Although she dreads “the hassle” with members. Or she wants to remain ‘fraction-Den Haan’. If she did join another group, she would do so in order to “have a lot of time for one or two topics”. As for her: care and housing. “Now I have to divide my attention. As a party that stands for good aging, I cannot afford not to do anything with pensions. But to say I like it? No.”
In any case, the PvdA cannot have asked Den Haan, says former MP Margot Kraneveldt on a terrace in Zoetermeer a few days earlier. “It has it in the statutes or the regulations that seat robbers are not welcome.”
Kraneveldt himself switched in 2006 from the Pim Fortuyn List to the PvdA. She had been a Member of Parliament for three years, she saw herself as solid, she worked hard. But around her, the LPF faction fell apart quarreling. Sharon Dijksma asked her for the PvdA candidate list. “She said: maybe you appeal to the type of voters that we no longer serve that way.”
But then Kraneveldt first had to leave the House of Representatives. “I also thought that the seat was not mine.” Only: the LPF didn’t want him back. “Group chairman Gerard van As said: can’t you stay?” Next on the list was the Amsterdam councilor Gonny van Oudenallen who allegedly cheated with declarations, the LPF no longer wanted her.
But Margot Kraneveldt said no.
At the LPF she was third on the list, the PvdA put her at 36. She got 729 votes and became a PvdA member like everyone else. She is now party leader in Zoetermeer.
Former 50 Plusser Liane den Haan thinks that the parliamentary seat is hers. “That’s the law.” She will decide after the summer what to do with it. “I drink coffee with people, I talk a lot, I negotiate. It is still completely open.”
A version of this article also appeared in NRC in the morning of July 15, 2021