De Lille in power play with Zille

2015-02-15 20:14
(City Press)

(City Press)

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Cape Town - Cape Town Mayor Patricia de Lille’s tilt at the DA’s provincial leadership is said to be aimed at outmanoeuvring those who want to see party leader and Western Cape Premier Helen Zille return to Parliament, City Press reports.

De Lille last week announced her candidacy for the position ahead of the party’s provincial elective congress on 18 April. She is set to go head-to-head with former provincial police commissioner and DA MPL Lennit Max.

Current provincial leader Ivan Meyer has withdrawn from the race to throw his weight behind De Lille.

A source close to De Lille said she was convinced to stand for provincial leader after some in the party pushed for Zille’s return as head of the parliamentary caucus, in place of Mmusi Maimane.

“If De Lille wins, she wouldn’t make a claim on the premiership as other leaders would, which means Helen can stay in her position. [De Lille] is the mayor and she is happy with that position,” the source said.

De Lille’s announcement of her candidature last week came as a surprise. Max allegedly has ambitions to become premier, and the lobby around him has been pushing for Zille to return to Parliament.

Max, however, said this was the first he had heard of it, that he had not been nominated and was not aware of any vacancy.

“We have currently our very competent federal leader Helen Zille in the position and it will be totally premature and overambitious of any candidate in the provincial leadership race to [challenge her],” he said.

De Lille had not replied to an SMS message requesting comment by the time of going to press.

A member of the lobby that wants to see Zille in Parliament said next year - after the local government elections – could be a good time for a move.

The source said Meyer could stand for Cape Town mayor, while De Lille moved up as premier and Zille moved into the caucus.

Three MPs close to Zille said she was not headed for Parliament and would finish her term as premier. One MP said she was expected to announce in May that she would be serving her last two-year term as party leader if re-elected at the party’s federal congress, as is expected.

“She is the best person to take the party into the 2016 local government elections,” the MP said.

Zille said she stayed out of decisions around candidatures for leadership within the DA, but it didn’t make sense that De Lille’s stand would prevent Max from winning and pushing Zille to become parliamentary leader.

“Why would Max, whether he was provincial leader or not, have any influence on whether I was in Parliament or province?” Zille asked.

The list of candidates for the provincial conference will be released on Monday.

Read more on:    da  |  helen zille  |  patricia de lille  |  parliament 2015
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