To prevent too many “white men” from appearing on the PvdA’s slate of mayoral elections in The Hague, Dutch candidate council member Wouter Puig withdrew. This was announced on Tuesday evening during a turbulent meeting of members of the General Assembly. “I don’t think it’s good for politics if men are given more space on the lists than women. If (white) men don’t give up their space – in part because of privilege – fair representation in politics will never work,” Puig wrote in a statement.
Puig finished seventh on the draft list of candidates. When he saw a lot of shifts in the top ten during the GMM, he decided not to advance. “Women and people of color are still underrepresented in the political arena. With withdrawal, the list is more proportional.”
I made the decision with a heavy heart. “I wish I could commit myself to the city, but on a representative list,” he says. He wants to “open the debate” on this topic. “Women and people of color are systematically less on political party lists. Representative representation of society in politics is not an afterthought,” he says. It ensures that all signs in society find their way into politics. For example, insane transgressions such as the wildcard case are forbidden. This is partly due to systems where people don’t know how to make their way around.”
In the end, the distribution of males and females in the top ten became “fifties and fifty”. Martijn Balster tops the list, followed by Mikal Tseggai. “I’m glad that in the end there are as many women as men in the top 10. It might sound moral: but I think white men should make more room for thought,” Puig says.
However, there are still concerns. “In total, only 33 people applied for a place on the PvdA shortlist, and 11 of them were women.” That really has to change: New networks have to be exploited, says Pogue. The white man knows better how to find his way into politics. We need to build new ways for these groups toward politics, without clear traffic lights and directional signs.”
Earlier, there was also an uproar about real estate businessman Miran Sutahal, who took seventh place, but the board of directors removed it from the list. They feared that his work in the private rental market would not go hand in hand with “serious intervention” in the housing market. Members ruled otherwise and he ended up in 19th place. The businessman is willing to resign from his job as a mediator if he ends up on the board.
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