‘Ank Bijleveld would have been better off staying as Defense Minister’

Bijleveld surprised politicians in The Hague by choosing to resign as outgoing defense minister the day after a motion of censure, submitted by a majority of the House of Representatives. The discussion in the House of Representatives about her role in the Afghan evacuation, which got off to a slow start, led her to realize after a night’s sleep that it was best to resign as responsible minister. Her colleague Sigrid Kaag, as Minister of Foreign Affairs, did so immediately after the motion was submitted.

Doubts in Overijssel

In Overijssel politics there are doubts as to whether it was necessary for Bijleveld, who lives in Goor, to step down in the wake of the other administrator.

“I was surprised, wasn’t I,” says Deputy Hijum, “But I also understand her. This is a personal drama for Ank Bijleveld, because she has built up an enormous track record and a great affinity with Defense. She showed an enormous drive to help this department recover after years of budget cuts. She tried to make up for that.”

Resignation no automaticity

It is clear that Bijleveld is partly responsible for the delayed evacuation of compatriots from Afghanistan. “But it was a motion of censure and not a vote of no confidence. Then resignation is not automatic. But if another administrator resigns, it is difficult to stay on. That is the dynamics of politics, which you sometimes lose.” brings of solving the real problem.”

As it is also a pity that the departure of Bijleveld is a loss for Overijssel. “You are going to miss a line with a driver who in practice really means something for Overijssel in The Hague,” says the deputy from Laag-Zuthem.

CDA not happy

And the CDA is also not happy with the umpteenth blow in a row, Van Hijum knows. “Losing a minister is never good for the party.” He expects that the formation talks will not proceed any faster, given the way in which Bijleveld was maneuvered into a situation in which she saw no other option than to resign.

Taking the circumstances into account, outgoing Minister of Defense Ank Bijleveld would have been better off remaining in her post. That is the view of Herman Pieper, chairman of the senior citizens’ association KBO Overijssel department, and himself politically active for years as an alderman in Oldenzaal and as a member of the Provincial Council.

Semi-war situation

“There are situations where the policy takes precedence over the person,” says the political nestor. Of course Bijleveld made mistakes as a minister and she has also been called to order by the House several times in previous cases. So she didn’t look good in The Hague, Pieper acknowledges. “They sat on the person Bijleveld. But we are in a semi-war situation with the Netherlands. Then it is not good for an experienced minister to resign, or see no other choice than to resign.”

The result is that a replacement for Bijleveld may lack the experience to fulfill the position of outgoing defense minister, Pieper assumes. “I can imagine that a new minister must first be briefed about the policy that must be pursued towards Afghanistan. That takes time. This file is so important that you must now take the right steps in this. The House should have asked Bijleveld to and to implement the policies advocated by the government in the Afghanistan dossier.”

‘It’s about the dolls again’

Party chairman Marc Smellink of the CDA in Dinkelland understands Bijleveld’s resignation as a result of pressure from outside, but at the same time finds it unwise. “The ministry now has to do without a very experienced administrator and that does not benefit the problems in Afghanistan. Moreover, it is again about the puppets, while one person can always stay on (ed. Mark Rutte of the VVD).”

In that respect, Smellink, who is also vice-chairman of the CDJA and also leader of the election campaign of the CDA Overijssel, shares the ideas of fellow Tukker Pieter Omtzigt. “It should be more about the content”. Smellink was also for #TeamOmtzigt during the election battle for the party leadership.

When asked whether he and his local branch still want to stay with the CDA after all the problems of the past year, he answers: ‘yes, provided’. He wants to see to what extent the party will change, manage to take a clear course and regain trust. “Running away is easy,” Smellink concludes.

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