Fourth Balkenende cabinet

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Fourth Balkenende cabinet
67th Cabinet of the Netherlands
Flag of the Netherlands.svg
Jan Peter Balkenende 2006.jpg
Date formed 22 February 2007
Date dissolved 20 February 2010
(Replaced on 14 October 2010)
People and organizations
Head of government Jan Pieter Balkenende
Head of state Beatrix of the Netherlands
Member party Christian Democratic Appeal (CDA)
Labour Party (PvdA)
ChristianUnion (CU)
History
Election(s) 2006 election
Outgoing election Dutch general election, 2010
Incoming formation 2006-2007
Outgoing formation 2010
Previous Balkenende III
Successor Rutte I
Azure, billetty Or a lion with a coronet Or armed and langued Gules holding in his dexter paw a sword Argent hilted Or and in the sinister paw seven arrows Argent pointed and bound together Or. [The seven arrows stand for the seven provinces of the Union of Utrecht.] The shield is crowned with the (Dutch) royal crown and supported by two lions Or armed and langued gules. They stand on a scroll Azure with the text (Or) "Je Maintiendrai" (French for "I will maintain".)
This article is part of a series on the
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The fourth Balkenende cabinet or Balkenende IV was a Dutch coalition cabinet formed by the political parties Christian Democratic Appeal (CDA), Labour Party (PvdA), and ChristianUnion (CU). The cabinet succeeded the third Balkenende cabinet following the 2006 election, and was installed by Queen Beatrix on 22 February 2007. It was named Balkenende IV after Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende. The cabinet, which was scheduled to be in office until 2011, collapsed on 20 February 2010 when the Labour Party ministers resigned over differences on whether to extend the country's military mission in Afghanistan. Balkenende lost the general election in June 2010, when he resigned as PM and from his parliamentary seat. On 14 October 2010, the cabinet was succeeded by the first Rutte cabinet of Prime Minister Mark Rutte.

Formation[edit]

Pie chart showing the number of seats in the House of Representatives held by parties in the Balkenende IV Cabinet (CDA, PVDA, CU)

The coalition cabinet Balkenende II collapsed on 29 June 2006 after the political party Democrats 66 (D66) withdrew their support for the coalition. The political parties Christian Democratic Appeal (CDA) and People's Party for Freedom and Democracy (VVD) formed the minority cabinet Balkenende III, which was installed on 7 July 2006, and early general elections were held on 22 November 2006. After the elections the Christian Democratic Appeal remained the largest party, while the Socialist Party (SP), the Party for Freedom (PVV), the ChristianUnion (CU), and the Party for the Animals (PvdD) gained seats in the new House of Representatives.[1]

Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands appointed Rein Jan Hoekstra as informateur. He explored the possibilities for the different three party coalitions, since no two parties could form a majority in the House of Representatives together. This resulted in a coalition of the Christian Democratic Appeal (CDA), the Labour Party (PvdA), and the ChristianUnion (CU). Together these three parties had 79 seats out of 150 seats in the House of Representatives. In the second information round Herman Wijffels was the informateur to negotiate between the Jan Peter Balkenende (CDA), Wouter Bos (PvdA), and André Rouvoet (CU) to reach a coalition agreement. The motto of the agreement they reached on 7 February 2007 was "Samen leven, samen werken" ("Living together, working together").

The appointment of Jan Peter Balkenende as formateur by the Queen on 9 February 2007 was the start of the cabinet formation.[2] Four days later on 13 February a preliminary composition of the cabinet was announced.[3]

On 22 February the cabinet members were sworn in by Queen Beatrix.

Fall[edit]

During the night between 19 and 20 February 2010, after 16 hours of deliberation, it became clear that coalition partners PvdA and CDA had insufficient confidence in each other. As a result, Balkenende will deliver the letters of resignation of the Labour party ministers to Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands once the Queen returns from holiday in Lech am Arlberg. He will also offer the positions of the other ministers to the Queen. It is unclear what will happen afterward; possibilities include a demissionary cabinet or a so-called rump cabinet, a minority government.[4] Either option will be a care taker cabinet awaiting early general elections.

In February 2010, NATO had officially requested the Netherlands to extend its military involvement in Task Force Uruzgan, the ISAF operation in the Afghan province of Uruzgan, aimed at training Afghan security forces and transfer of responsibilities to the local authorities.[5][6][7] Coalition party PvdA strongly opposed the extension of the mission.[8][9][10] The collision between the government and the parliament, of which the majority disagreed with an extension of the mission, as well as between the coalition partners in the cabinet, threatened the existence of the cabinet[11] and led to its fall in the early morning of 20 February.[12][13][14][15]

After the resignation of the Labour Party, Balkenende also offered to the Dutch Queen the resignations of the 12 cabinet positions held by his own party CDA and the three held by the smaller CU. Ministers of these two parties would take over the posts previously held by Labour ministers until a new government is formed. Labour leader Wouter Bos, who resigned as deputy prime minister and finance minister, announced that he wanted to continue to lead his party. The Deputy Prime Minister André Rouvoet expected that the CDA and the CU would form a caretaker government until new parliamentary elections, that were expected in May or June 2010.[16] Labour Party leader Bos denied that the upcoming local elections in the Netherlands played a role in the decision to refuse to compromise on a possible extension of the Dutch military mission in Afghanistan.[17]

According to opinion polls the Christian Democrats would win a new election, but then face difficulty in finding three coalition partners to establish a majority government. A poll by Maurice de Hond on 14 February 2010 put the CDA on 27 seats, followed by the Freedom Party (PVV) on 25 seats and the Liberal Party (VVD) on 22 seats.[18] According to a new opinion poll held after the fall of the cabinet, the Labour Party could expect to win 19 seats in a general election, the CDA 26, but it would stay the biggest party[19]

Aftermath[edit]

On 23 February 2010 Queen Beatrix accepted the resignation of the PvdA ministers, and maintained the remaining ministers to run a demissionary cabinet until the general elections. Early elections were held on 9 June 2010.[20] The cabinet formation started a day later.

Composition[edit]

The cabinet consisted of 16 ministers and 11 junior ministers (staatssecretaris). These positions were divided among the coalition members according to their size in parliament: CDA supplied 8 ministers and 4 junior ministers, PvdA 6 ministers and 6 junior ministers, and ChristianUnion supplied 2 ministers and 1 junior minister.

Position Portfolio Name Party
Balkenende Dutch politician kabinet Balkenende IV.jpg
Prime Minister General Affairs Jan Peter Balkenende CDA
Bos Dutch politician kabinet Balkenende IV.jpg
Deputy Prime Minister /
Minister Resigned 20 February 2010
Finance Wouter Bos PvdA
Vicepremier-en-minister-André-Rouvoet.jpg
Deputy Prime Minister /
Minister without Portfolio
Youth and Family
(within Health, Welfare and Sport) Caretaker minister for Education, Culture and Science from 23 February 2010
André Rouvoet CU
Verhagen Dutch politician kabinet Balkenende IV .jpg
Minister Foreign Affairs Maxime Verhagen CDA
Hirsch Ballin Dutch politician kabinet Balkenende IV.jpg
Minister Justice Caretaker minister Interior and Kingdom Relations from 23 February 2010 Ernst Hirsch Ballin CDA
TerHorst Dutch politician kabinet Balkenende IV.jpg
Minister Resigned 20 February 2010 Interior and Kingdom Relations Guusje ter Horst PvdA
Plasterk Dutch politician kabinet Balkenende IV.jpg
Minister Resigned 20 February 2010 Education, Culture and Science Ronald Plasterk PvdA
Middelkoop Dutch politician kabinet Balkenende IV.jpg
Minister Defence Caretaker minister Housing, Neighbourhoods and Integration from 23 February 2010 Eimert van Middelkoop CU
Eurlings Dutch politician kabinet Balkenende IV.jpg
Minister Transport, Public Works and Water Management Camiel Eurlings CDA
VanderHoeven Dutch politician kabinet Balkenende IV.jpg
Minister Economic Affairs Maria van der Hoeven CDA
Verburg Dutch politician kabinet Balkenende IV.jpg
Minister Agriculture, Nature and Food Quality Gerda Verburg CDA
Donner Dutch politician kabinet Balkenende IV.jpg
Minister Social Affairs and Employment Piet Hein Donner CDA
Kllink Dutch politician kabinet Balkenende IV.jpg
Minister Health, Welfare and Sport Ab Klink CDA
Cramer Dutch politician kabinet Balkenende IV.jpg
Minister Resigned 20 February 2010 Spatial Planning and Environment Jacqueline Cramer PvdA
Eberhard-van-der-laan.jpg
Minister without Portfolio Resigned 20 February 2010 Housing, Neighbourhoods and Integration
(within Housing, Spatial Planning and the Environment)
Eberhard van der Laan PvdA
Koenders Dutch politician kabinet Balkenende IV.jpg
Minister without Portfolio Resigned 20 February 2010 Development Cooperation
(within Foreign Affairs)
Bert Koenders PvdA
Timmermans Dutch politician kabinet Balkenende IV.jpg
State Secretary* Resigned 20 February 2010 Foreign Affairs
(European Affairs)
Frans Timmermans PvdA
Heemskerk Dutch politician kabinet Balkenende IV.jpg
State Secretary* Resigned 20 February 2010 Economic Affairs
(Foreign Trade)
Frank Heemskerk PvdA
De Jager Dutch politician kabinet Balkenende IV.jpg
State Secretary Finance
(Fiscal Affairs) Caretaker minister Finance from 23 February 2010
Jan Kees de Jager CDA
Albayrak Dutch politician kabinet Balkenende IV.jpg
State Secretary Resigned 20 February 2010 Justice
(Immigration)
Nebahat Albayrak PvdA
Bijleveld Dutch politician kabinet Balkenende IV.jpg
State Secretary Interior and Kingdom Relations
(Kingdom relations)
Ank Bijleveld CDA
VanBijsterveldt Dutch politician kabinet Balkenende IV version 2.jpg
State Secretary Education, Culture and Science
(Secondary Education)
Marja van Bijsterveldt CDA
Dijksma Dutch politician kabinet Balkenende IV.jpg
State Secretary Resigned 20 February 2010 Education, Culture and Science
(Childcare and Primary Education)
Sharon Dijksma PvdA
Jack de Vries, Den Haag Veteranendag 2009, by FaceMePLS.jpg
State Secretary Resigned 14 May 2010 Defence
(Military personnel)
Jack de Vries CDA
Huizinga Dutch politician kabinet Balkenende IV.jpg
State Secretary Transport, Public Works and Water Management
(Water Management) Caretaker minister Spatial Planning and Environment from 23 February 2010
Tineke Huizinga CU
Jetteklijnsma.jpg
State Secretary Resigned 20 February 2010 Social Affairs and Employment
(Income Policy)
Jetta Klijnsma PvdA
Bussemaker Dutch politician kabinet Balkenende IV.jpg
State Secretary Resigned 20 February 2010 Health, Welfare and Sport
(Care and Elderly)
Jet Bussemaker PvdA
* The state secretaries for Foreign Affairs and Economic Affairs are allowed to use a ministerial title only while on foreign business. Their title then is minister of European Affairs and Foreign Trade respectively.
Source: Volkskrant profiles of all ministers and ministers and state secretaries on the official RVD site on the cabinet formation, except for Huizinga, who selected later nos.nl

Policy[edit]

The coalition agreement titled "Living together, working together" was presented on 7 February in a press conference by Balkenende, Bos, Rouvoet. It is structured into six commitments of the new cabinet.[21][22] If a proposal was included in a party's electoral manifesto, this is mentioned as well:

  • An active and constructive role in the world, which is characterized by these policies:
    • Continued investments into the Joint Strike Fighter (as the CDA proposed).
    • The new cabinet is not in favour of a new referendum on the European Constitution, which was voted down in 2005, but will consider new initiatives (both the CDA and CU opposed the referendum initially).
  • An innovative, competitive and entrepreneurial economy, which is characterized by these policies:
    • 1 billion increased spending on education (as all parties proposed).
    • Privatization of Schiphol airport is shelved (as the CU and the PvdA proposed).
  • A durable environment, which is characterized by these policies:
    • 800 million euros additional spending on renewable energy (as both the PvdA and the CU proposed).
    • Pollution will be taxed more heavily (as both the PvdA and the CU proposed).
    • A tax on airline tickets totalling 350 million euros (as all parties proposed).
    • No new investments in nuclear energy (as the CU and the PvdA proposed).
  • Social cohesion, which is characterized by these policies:
    • A reform of the system of basic state pensions: people who have private pensions of 15,000 euros and higher and who stop working before the age of 65 will pay an additional tax as of 2011. People who work beyond 65 receive tax breaks. This measure should guarantee an affordable basic state pension (AOW) despite trends in population ageing (a compromise between the PvdA, which wanted to tax all rich elderly and the CDA which wanted incentives to make people work longer).
    • Public social housing will not be liberalised, rent rates may be raised only in line with inflation (as the PvdA proposed).
    • The tax deduction on mortgage interest payments remains unchanged (as the CDA proposed).
    • Investments in problem areas in the large cities to make them "beautiful neighbourhoods" (as the PvdA proposed).
    • Re-implementation of the subsidized jobs-scheme for the unemployed (as the PvdA proposed).
    • Childcare spending totalling 700 million euros (free child care was a PvdA election promise and opposed by CDA).
  • Safety, stability and respect, which is characterized by these policies:
    • Reduction of all crimes by 25%.
    • A ban on burqas and other face covering clothing for security reasons (as the CDA proposed).
  • Government and a servile public sector[23]
    • In response to opposition to extravagant wages earned by some top civil servants and top level managers of quangos, sometimes five times that of the prime minister, no one will be allowed an income greater than the prime minister's. In order to accomplish this, the prime minister's salary will be increased.
    • Cutting the number of civil servants to save 750 million euros.
    • Women seeking an abortion are to expect an additional waiting period between first consultation and actual procedure on top of the already mandatory five days waiting period (as the CU proposed).
    • Minor reforms of the health care-system, including the abolishment of the no claim and the re-inclusion of dental care into the basic insurance.
    • Increased taxation on cigarettes and liquor, smoke-free bars and restaurants by 2011.
    • A general pardon for asylum seekers who entered the Netherlands before the new Asylum Law came into effect (as both the CU and the PvdA proposed).
    • The coalition wants to have a budget surplus of 1% of the GDP by 2011 with a projected 2% annual economic growth (as all parties proposed).

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Balkenende clings to power as Dutch head for uneasy coalition"
  2. ^ (Dutch) "Balkenende benoemd tot formateur". NOS.nl. 9 February 2007. Retrieved 2007-02-10. 
  3. ^ (Dutch) "Kabinet Balkenende 4 rond". nu.nl. 2007-02-13. Retrieved 2007-02-14. 
  4. ^ "Contact Balkenende met Beatrix" (in Dutch). NOS. Retrieved 2010-02-20. 
  5. ^ (Dutch)"NAVO verzoekt nieuwe missie Afghanistan"
  6. ^ "NATO would like Dutch to train Afghan troops"
  7. ^ (Dutch)"Kabinet onderzoekt langere missie Afghanistan"
  8. ^ "Nato troop request sparks political row"
  9. ^ (Dutch)"Conflict naar climax: nog deze week Uruzgan-besluit"
  10. ^ "Labour says final 'no' to Afghanistan"
  11. ^ "Will the Dutch government fall over troop deployment?"
  12. ^ (Dutch)"Verklaring Balkenende na afloop ministerraad"
  13. ^ (Dutch)"Kabinet-Balkenende IV gevallen"
  14. ^ "Dutch government falls over Afghanistan mission"
  15. ^ "Dutch Government Collapses Over Afghan Mission"
  16. ^ "Balkenende offers resignation to queen"
  17. ^ "Bos denies decision influenced by March poll"
  18. ^ "FACTBOX – Collapse of Dutch government, what opinion polls say"
  19. ^ "Uruzgan row boosts Labour Party popularity"
  20. ^ "Kamerverkiezingen op 9 juni". De Volkskrant (in Dutch) (Amsterdam, Netherlands: PCM Uitgevers). 23 February 2010. Retrieved 23 February 2010. 
  21. ^ (Dutch) "Coalitieakkoord tussen de Tweede Kamerfracties van CDA, PvdA en ChristenUnie" (pdf). NOS News. 7 February 2007. Retrieved 2007-02-07. [dead link]
  22. ^ (Dutch) "Coalition agreement summary". NOS News. 7 February 2007. Retrieved 2007-02-07. 
  23. ^ Overheid en dienstbare publieke sector

External links[edit]