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Post election blues [March 21, 2010]

So, here we are, two weeks after the local elections and it looks as if Amsterdam is not going to show Rotterdam and The Hague how forming a new administration can be done.

While the port city and political capital wrestle with the presence of the populists and the islamophobes, the situation in Amsterdam had looked pretty straightforward. Labour, down five seats but still the biggest party would lead the formation of a new coalition. D66, the big winner in the local polls would join them, and someone else would be added into the mix.

But then Wouter Bos decided to quit as Labour leader - the man who did not want to be prime minister. And Job Cohen, Amsterdam's mayor is lined up to take over. Which leaves a gap in the capital.

Two gaps actually - no council executive and no mayor. So it seemed pretty obvious that local Labour leader Lodewijk Asscher would step into Cohen's shoes temporarily - until queenie got round to appointing a new mayor.

And all seemed to be moving ahead nicely until D66 announced somewhat abruptly it did not agree with Asscher as acting mayor at all. The decision to appoint him showed how power hungry Labour is, said local D66 leader Ageeth Telleman. The party assumes the mayor's job is its by rights and that goes against everything D66 stands for.

Her decision was curiously timed because it was only on Wednesday that D66 and Labour had said they would form the 'axis of power'. So what changed.

Given the extremely positive reaction from national D66 leader Alexander Pechtold, it is not hard to imagine a little push from The Hague. After all, the Cohen affect on Labour's fortunes in the polls has been very positive - and which party has been hurt most? D66.
So an alliance between the two parties in Amsterdam might not be the best thing for the Liberals ahead of the June 9 general election. The cannibalisation of D66 support has got to stop.

D66, of course, is in favour of an elected mayor rather than a politically-appointed one. And in that, the party is completely correct. Amsterdammers should be able to chose who our representative to the outside world is.

And the thought of Labour's home affairs minister Guusje ter Horst sneaking in via a wave of the royal hand is not the most pleasant one. Her name is circulating as the front runner for the job.

The woman who is responsible for spending a fortune on impossible cobblestones on the Dam, with a drink driving conviction while mayor of Nijmegen and who brought us Big Brother while home affairs minister...

Anything to avoid that. Perhaps D66 has a point after all.

And, this anonymous graffitti artist has got it right.

Oh no not Guusje.jpg

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