Speaker of the House of Representatives Vera Bergkamp will retire after the elections in November. This brings an end to a presidency that was plagued by the affair surrounding its predecessor. And to a lot of criticism for how she led debates.
Bergkamp says she no longer wants to be on the candidate list of her party D66. In the last elections in 2021, Bergkamp was in third place on the list and obtained almost 30,000 preferential votes.
Bergkamp has been a member of the House of Representatives since 2012 and became chairman in 2021. She then received more votes than her predecessor PvdA member Khadija Arib and PVV member Martin Bosma. They were displeased and said that the presidential election had been settled behind the scenes by VVD and D66.
Bergkamp was well known as a Member of Parliament, but had a hard time as chairman. For example, she was sometimes accused of not being firm enough during debates. Bergkamp’s efforts to steer the debate in the right direction became increasingly visible, as the debate itself also became rougher. Parties such as the Forum for Democracy increasingly pushed the boundaries during fierce debates in the plenary hall. MPs from other parties often had to urge Bergkamp to intervene. She also talked behind the scenes with party chairmen about the rules of conduct in the House of Representatives and the limits to the parliamentary debate.
In addition, an investigation into signs of social insecurity under her predecessor Arib also turned out badly. The executive board of the House of Representatives had decided to conduct the investigation, but it leaked out prematurely. Arib immediately stepped out of the Chamber out of anger and frustration. An investigation into the Arib case is still ongoing. Arib lashed out at Bergkamp several times: she felt that her successor had ‘stabbed a knife in the back’ by having the complaints investigated.
In a statement, Bergkamp writes that ‘complaints about an unsafe working atmosphere are taken seriously’. She states that it ‘hurts’ her that confidence in politics is low. “That hurts me, because I see how hard MPs work.”
She does write: ,,At the same time, we cannot ignore the criticism. Fortunately, after the boundary in terms of manners in the debate had shifted for years, we have drawn a line in the sand together. We have to hold on to that.” She adds: ,,That will be without me. A new political phase is dawning. That’s why I think it’s time for something new for me now.”
Also listen to our podcast Politics Close, and subscribe via Spotify or Apple:
As a Member of Parliament, Bergkamp was often involved in ethical and legal issues. For example, she argued for the legalization of soft drugs and the modernization of family law. She was then known as someone who mainly got a lot done in the shelter.
The 52-year-old Bergkamp from Amsterdam has a Moroccan father and a Dutch mother. She is the first openly gay President of the House of Representatives. She was previously chair of the LGBT interest organization COC and director of the Social Insurance Bank.
Watch all our videos about politics here:
Free unlimited access to Showbytes? Which can!
Log in or create an account and don’t miss a thing of the stars.