Alexander Pechtold

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Alexander Pechtold
Alexander-pechtold (cropped).jpg
Leader of the Democrats 66 in the House of Representatives
Assumed office
30 November 2006
Preceded by Lousewies van der Laan
Leader of the Democrats 66
Assumed office
24 June 2006
Preceded by Boris Dittrich
Minister for Government Reform and Kingdom Relations
In office
31 March 2005 – 3 July 2006
Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende
Preceded by Thom de Graaf
Succeeded by Atzo Nicolaï
Chair of the Democrats 66
In office
16 November 2002 – 31 March 2005
Leader Thom de Graaf
Boris Dittrich
Preceded by Gerard Schouw
Succeeded by Frank Dales
Member of the House of Representatives
Assumed office
30 November 2006
Mayor of Wageningen
In office
1 October 2003 – 31 March 2005
Preceded by Geke Faber
Succeeded by Geert van Rumund
Personal details
Born (1965-12-16) 16 December 1965 (age 52)
Delft, Netherlands
Nationality Dutch
Political party Democrats 66
Spouse(s) Froukje Idema (1997–present)
Children 2
Education Leiden University (BA, MA)

Alexander Pechtold (born 16 December 1965) is a Dutch politician of the Democrats 66 (D66) party serving as its leader since 24 June 2006. He has been his party's parliamentary leader in the House of Representatives and a member of the House of Representatives since 30 November 2006.

Pechtold, an art historian by training, worked for Van Stockum's Auctions as a auctioneer from 1992 until 1997. He was elected Chairman of the D66 on 16 November 2002, and was selected as Mayor of Wageningen on 1 October 2003. In 2005 he was asked to become Minister for Government Reform and Kingdom Relations in the Second Balkenende cabinet under Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende, following the resignation of Thom de Graaf. Pechtold accepted the position, and resigned as Chairman and Mayor the same day that he took office as Minister on 31 March 2005. The D66 retracted its support for the Balkenende cabinet on 29 June 2006, and Pechtold resigned as Minister for Government Reform and Kingdom Relations on 3 July 2006. He was elected the Leader of the D66 on 24 June 2006, after the party's leadership election of 2006.

In the general election of 2006 Pechtold became lijsttrekker (top candidate); the D66 lost three seats, and became an opposition party. In the election of 2010, when Pechtold was again lijsttrekker, the D66 gained seven seats, for a total of ten, but remained an opposition party. In the following Dutch general election of 2012, with Pechtold still lijsttrekker, the D66 gained another two seats but remained an opposition party, while in the Dutch general election of 2017 gained a further seven seats, for a total of nineteen.

Biography[edit]

Early life[edit]

Alexander Pechtold was born on 16 December 1965 in Delft in the Dutch province of South Holland. Pechtold and his elder brother Roland Pechtold grew up in the village of Rhoon. He went to a Lyceum in Rotterdam. Pechtold studied art history and archaeology with a specialization in 17th-century painting at the Leiden University, obtaining a Bachelor of Arts and a Master of Arts degree in 1996. During that time Pechtold obtained certification as an auctioneer, and worked for the Van Stockum's Veilingen during his studies.

Politics[edit]

Party chair[edit]

Pechtold became a member of the Democrats 66 (D66) party in 1989. He was elected as a Municipal councillor in Leiden in 1994, and became an alderman in 1996. On 16 November 2002 he was elected as Chairman of the D66. Pechtold was tasked with reforming the party after its disastrous results in the general election of 2002, and preparing for the upcoming election of 2003.

Mayor of Wageningen[edit]

On 1 October 2003, Pechtold was selected as Mayor of Wageningen; he remained Chairman of the D66.

Minister for Government Reform and Kingdom Relations[edit]

Thom de Graaf, the D66 Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Government Reform and Kingdom Relations in the Second Balkenende cabinet, resigned on 23 March 2005 after the introduction of democratically elected mayors had been rejected in the Senate. The proposal was especially important; it had become a symbol of the government reform that the D66 had wanted since the party's creation. Pechtold was asked to succeed him as Minister. Pechtold resigned as Chairman and Mayor the same day that he took office as the new Minister for Government Reform and Kingdom Relations, on 31 March 2005.

On 29 June 2006 the D66 retracted its support for the Second Balkenende cabinet. The next day, Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende offered the resignation of the full cabinet to Queen Beatrix. Pechtold resigned as Minister for Government Reform and Kingdom Relations on 3 July 2006. His fellow D66 cabinet member Laurens Jan Brinkhorst, the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Economic Affairs, resigned on 7 July 2006.

House of Representatives[edit]

Pechtold was elected the Leader of the D66 on 24 June 2006 in the leadership election of 2006, defeating Lousewies van der Laan, the party's Parliamentary leader in the House of Representatives. Van der Laan had only a few months earlier succeeded Boris Dittrich, who had resigned as party leader and parliamentary leader in the House of Representatives on 3 February 2006.

In 2007 the parliamentarian press chose Pechtold with 31% of the votes as the "Dutch politician of the year 2007".

Pechtold at his party's congress in Breda in 2010
Pechtold speaking in Nijmegen with Sophie in 't Veld in 2014

For the Dutch general election of 2006 Pechtold became lijsttrekker (top candidate) and the Democrats 66 lost three seats and became an opposition party. For the Dutch general election of 2010, Pechtold again as Lijsttrekker won ten seats but the Democrats 66 remained an opposition party. With the following Dutch general election of 2012, Pechtold again as lijsttrekker won two seats with the Democrats 66 again remaining an opposition party.

During the Fourth Balkenende cabinet administration Pechtold served as opposition leader against the cabinet. After the Dutch elections of 2010, the D66 won seven-seats in the House of Representatives which reporters claimed was due to Pechtolds leadership during the Fourth Balkenende cabinet time.[1] After the 2010 Dutch cabinet formation the D66 again remained in opposition. In 2012, Pechtold published Henk, Ingrid, & Alexander, which ostensibly aimed to break through the populism that has dominated Dutch politics in the previous decade, "Henk" and "Ingrid" being the generic names proposed by Geert Wilders and other Party for Freedom politicians to represent the average Dutch couple, by engaging everyday people in conversation. The book was panned in de Volkskrant as a "cheap PR-stunt without any value to it."[2]

During a debate with Mark Rutte in 2010, Pechtold championed the cause of social liberalism, noting that the government “needs to offer services where fairness is more important than efficiency, such as education and healthcare," while accusing Rutte of pursuing policies that hurt the most vulnerable in Dutch society.[3]

After the shootdown of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 in July 2014, Pechtold explicitly voiced his support for economic expediency over ethical correctness by stating: "We are a small country, dependent on our exports, and unlike the United States, we cannot always react from our moral high grounds." [4]

In December 2017, it was revealed that Pechtold received an apartment valued at 135,000 euros from Serge Marcoux, a former Canadian Ambassador, that was not listed on the gift register of the House of Representatives, with Pechtold justifying the lack of report by saying that he knew Marcoux from outside politics and that the apartment was a private gift which did not fall under the purview of the register.[5]

References[edit]

  1. ^ (in Dutch) Het Pechtold-effect goed voor D66
  2. ^ Fretz, Johan (8 February 2012). "'Ik mis Hans van Mierlo opeens zo'". de Volkskrant. Retrieved 8 February 2012. Pechtold kijkt koddig in de lens van de NOS en noemt de populistische titel van zijn boek 'gewoon een knipoog'. Ik vind het een goedkope PR-stunt zonder onderliggende waarde. 
  3. ^ Emilie van Outeren, "Will the real liberal please stand up". Archived 2012-09-21 at the Wayback Machine.
  4. ^ The Netherlands, a Nation in Mourning but Mindful of Ties to Russia
  5. ^ Raoul du Pré (18 December 2017). "Pechtold kreeg Schevenings appartement van bevriende oud-ambassadeur en noemt die gift een privékwestie". de Volkskrant. Retrieved 19 December 2017. 

External links[edit]

Official
Party political offices
Preceded by
Gerard Schouw
Chair of the Democrats 66
2002–2005
Succeeded by
Frank Dales
Preceded by
Boris Dittrich
Leader of the Democrats 66
2006–present
Incumbent
Preceded by
Lousewies van der Laan
Leader of the Democrats 66 in the House of Representatives
2006–present
Political offices
Preceded by
Geke Faber
Mayor of Wageningen
2003–2005
Succeeded by
Geert van Rumund
Preceded by
Thom de Graaf
Minister for Government Reform and Kingdom Relations
2005–2006
Succeeded by
Atzo Nicolaï