First Balkenende cabinet

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First Balkenende cabinet
Flag of the Netherlands.svg
64th Cabinet of the Netherlands
Kabinet-Balkenende I.jpg ZetelsBalkenendeI.svg
The installation of the first Balkenende cabinet on 22 July 2002
Date formed22 July 2002 (2002-07-22)
Date dissolved27 May 2003 (2003-05-27)
(Demissionary from 16 October 2002 (2002-10-16))
People and organisations
MonarchQueen Beatrix
Prime MinisterJan Peter Balkenende
Deputy Prime MinisterEduard Bomhoff (2002)
Johan Remkes
Roelf de Boer (2002–2003)
No. of ministers14
Total no. of members14
Member partyChristian Democratic Appeal
(CDA)
Pim Fortuyn List
(LPF)
People's Party for
Freedom and Democracy

(VVD)
Status in legislatureRight-wing
Majority government
Opposition partyLabour Party
Opposition leaderJeltje van Nieuwenhoven (2002)
Wouter Bos (2002–2003)
History
Election(s)2002 election
Outgoing election2003 election
Legislature term(s)2002–2003
Incoming formation2002 formation
Outgoing formation2003 formation
PredecessorSecond Kok cabinet
SuccessorSecond Balkenende cabinet
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
politics and government of
Netherlands

The first Balkenende cabinet was the executive branch of the Dutch government from 22 July 2002 until 27 May 2003. The cabinet was formed by the Christian-democratic Christian Democratic Appeal (CDA), the nationalistic Pim Fortuyn List (LPF), and the conservative-liberal People's Party for Freedom and Democracy (VVD) after the election of 2002. The cabinet was a right-wing coalition and had a substantial majority in the House of Representatives with Christian Democratic Leader Jan Peter Balkenende serving as Prime Minister. Prominent economist Eduard Bomhoff served as Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Health, Welfare and Sport, while prominent Liberal politician Johan Remkes served as Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of the Interior and Kingdom Relations.

The cabinet served during the early unstable 2000s. Domestically, it had to deal with the fallout of the assassination of Pim Fortuyn, and internationally, with the start of the war on terror. The cabinet suffered several major internal conflicts including multiple cabinet resignations. The internal conflicts between the cabinet members of the Pim Fortuyn List led to the fall of the cabinet just 87 days into its term on 16 October 2002 and it continued in a demissionary capacity until it was replaced following the election of 2003.[1]

Formation[edit]

On 17 May 2002 Queen Beatrix appointed Member of the Council of State Piet Hein Donner (CDA) as "informer", to investigate the possibilities for a new government. A coalition between CDA, LPF and VVD was established relatively quickly, despite some initial resistance by the VVD. By 4 July a detailed coalition agreement had been drawn up and the Queen appointed Jan Peter Balkenende, the lijsttrekker for the CDA, to form a new cabinet. The cabinet was named on 16 July and was sworn in on 22 July. The first Balkenende cabinet comprised 14 ministers and 14 State Secretaries, with each post allocated to one of the coalition parties. Each of the ministers headed a department, with the exception of one "minister without a portfolio" to deal with "foreigners policy and integration", accommodated by the Ministry of Justice.

Term[edit]

Incidents and scandals[edit]

The first Balkenende cabinet was very unstable from the beginning. Elections had been held in the very recent aftermath of the assassination of Pim Fortuyn, the leader of the newly established Pim Fortuyn List. Emotions in the Netherlands had run very high. The LPF was catapulted into enormous wins, but was unprepared for cabinet participation.

Only three of the 27 cabinet members had previous experience in government, leading to speculation that it wouldn't last long. As it turned out, personality conflicts and the general inexperience of LPF cabinet members led to the rapid implosion of the cabinet after a little more than two months.

Resignation of State Secretary Bijlhout[edit]

The first scandal in the new government came only nine hours after it took office. Philomena Bijlhout, the State Secretary for Social Affairs and Employment and a member of the LPF, resigned after RTL 4 reported that she had been a member of a militia of Surinamese military dictator Dési Bouterse in 1982 and 1983. This was during the period when the militia had committed the political murders known as the "December Murders". Bijlhout, who was born in Suriname, had never denied being part of the militia, but claimed she'd left prior to the December Murders.[2]

Power struggles within the LPF and resignation of the cabinet[edit]

In the months following the election, the LPF was beset by power struggles between various factions. A big incident was when Immigration and Integration Minister Hilbrand Nawijn declared to be in favour of the death penalty. The cabinet was officially opposed to the death penalty. Nawijn responded that he made his remark as leader of the LPF. The party in its turn declared that it was opposed to the death penalty. Nawijn was highly criticised when he declared that it was a personal remark, because it was normal that a minister in a coalition cabinet could make remarks as a party member outside his ministerial responsibility.

In September and October Herman Heinsbroek speculated in public about leading a new party and resigning from the government. This led to tension between him and his supporter Steven van Eyck and Bomhoff. VVD-leader Zalm tried to convince the LPF ministers to replace both Bomhoff and Heinsbroek but his real aim was to use these resignations to call for new elections and to repair the huge losses of his VVD party in the election after the murder of Fortuyn. Disregarding Bomhoff's warnings, the other LPF ministers took the bait and told Bomhoff and Heinsbroek to resign, which they did on October 16. Immediately, Zalm broke his commitment to the remaining LPF ministers to accept replacements for Bomhoff and Heinsbroek and called for fresh elections. Meetings with the Queen did not take place until the week after the resignation, since she had travelled to Italy immediately after the funeral. On 21 October she accepted the resignation and new elections were called for 22 January 2003. The cabinet remained in place as a demissionary cabinet, without Bomhoff and Heinsbroek, until the elections and formation of the second Balkenende cabinet.

On 12 December 2002 Benk Korthals resigned as caretaker Minister of Defence after a commission of inquiry into building industry fraud accused him of giving false information to the Lower House during the previous cabinet. After resigning he said he still denied the allegations.

After the ensuing new elections, the LPF lost two-thirds of its seats in the House of Representatives. The party was never a significant force in Dutch politics again, and dissolved in 2008.

The term of 87 days (counting the first and last days in full and excluding its "caretaker" function that continued for months afterwards) was the shortest since the fifth cabinet of Hendrikus Colijn (25 July 1939 – 10 August 1939).

Actions[edit]

  • Revoking a planned ban on mink farming initiated by the previous cabinet.[3]
  • Approval of an expansion of the European Union.
  • Support for the United States in its plan to invade Iraq.
  • Cuts to Ad Melkert's subsidised jobs scheme, the Melkertbanen.
  • Removal of price controls on certain popular medical interventions (knee and hip operations, cataract operations) in an effort to reduce waiting lists.
  • Reorganisation of defence, including budget cuts and the termination of 4800 jobs.[4]
  • Reduction of spending on public transport by 39 million euros.[5]
  • Cuts to the budgets of most government departments, countered by increased spending in health and some other areas.

Cabinet Members[edit]

Ministers Title/Ministry/Portfolio(s) Term of office Party
Jan Peter Balkenende Dr.
Jan Peter
Balkenende

(born 1956)
Prime Minister General Affairs 22 July 2002 –
14 October 2010
[Continued]
Christian
Democratic Appeal
Johan Remkes Johan Remkes
(born 1951)
Deputy
Prime Minister
Interior and
Kingdom Relations
22 July 2002 –
27 May 2003
People's Party
for Freedom and
Democracy
Minister 22 July 2002 –
22 February 2007
[Continued]
Eduard Bomhoff Dr.
Eduard Bomhoff
(born 1944)
Minister Health, Welfare
and Sport
22 July 2002 –
16 October 2002
[Res]
Pim Fortuyn List
Deputy
Prime Minister
Roelf de Boer Roelf de Boer
(born 1949)
Transport and
Water Management
18 October 2002 –
27 May 2003
Pim Fortuyn List
Minister 22 July 2002 –
27 May 2003
Jaap de Hoop Scheffer Jaap de Hoop
Scheffer

(born 1948)
Minister Foreign Affairs 22 July 2002 –
3 December 2003
[Continued]
Christian
Democratic Appeal
Hans Hoogervorsts Hans Hoogervorst
(born 1956)
Minister Finance 22 July 2002 –
27 May 2003
People's Party
for Freedom and
Democracy
Minister Economic Affairs 16 October 2002 –
27 May 2003
[Acting]
Piet Hein Donner Piet Hein Donner
(born 1948)
Minister Justice 22 July 2002 –
21 September 2006
[Continued]
Christian
Democratic Appeal
Herman Heinsbroek Herman
Heinsbroek

(born 1951)
Minister Economic Affairs 22 July 2002 –
16 October 2002
[Res]
Pim Fortuyn List
Benk Korthals Benk Korthals
(born 1944)
Minister Defence 22 July 2002 –
12 December 2002
[Res]
People's Party
for Freedom and
Democracy
Henk Kamp Henk Kamp
(born 1952)
12 December 2002 –
22 February 2007
[Continued]
People's Party
for Freedom and
Democracy
Minister Housing, Spatial
Planning and the
Environment
22 July 2002 –
27 May 2003
Aart Jan de Geus Aart Jan de Geus
(born 1955)
Minister Health, Welfare
and Sport
16 October 2002 –
27 May 2003
[Acting]
Christian
Democratic Appeal
Minister Social Affairs and
Employment
22 July 2002 –
22 February 2007
[Continued]
Maria van der Hoeven Maria van
der Hoeven

(born 1949)
Minister Education, Culture
and Science
22 July 2002 –
22 February 2007
[Continued]
Christian
Democratic Appeal
Cees Veerman Dr.
Cees Veerman
(born 1949)
Minister Agriculture, Nature
and Fisheries
22 July 2002 –
1 July 2003
[Continued]
Christian
Democratic Appeal
Minister without portfolio Title/Ministry/Portfolio(s) Term of office Party
Hilbrand Nawijn Hilbrand Nawijn
(born 1948)
Minister Justice Immigration
and Asylum

Integration
Minorities
22 July 2002 –
27 May 2003
Pim Fortuyn List
State Secretaries Title/Ministry/Portfolio(s) Term of office Party
Netherlands politic personality icon.svg Rob Hessing
(born 1942)
State Secretary Interior and
Kingdom Relations
Public Security
Emergency
Services

Emergency
Management
22 July 2002 –
27 May 2003
Pim Fortuyn List
Agnes van Ardenne Agnes van
Ardenne

(born 1950)
State Secretary
[Title]
Foreign Affairs Development
Cooperation
22 July 2002 –
27 May 2003
Christian
Democratic Appeal
Atzo Nicolaï Atzo Nicolaï
(1960–2020)
European Union
Benelux
22 July 2002 –
7 July 2006
[Continued]
People's Party
for Freedom and
Democracy
Steven van Eijck Steven van Eijck
(born 1959)
State Secretary Finance Fiscal Policy
Tax and Customs
Governmental
Budget
22 July 2002 –
27 May 2003
Pim Fortuyn List
Joop Wijn Joop Wijn
(born 1969)
State Secretary Economic Affairs Trade and Export
• Consumer
Protection
Telecommunication
Postal Service
Tourism
22 July 2002 –
27 May 2003
Christian
Democratic Appeal
Cees van der Knaap Cees van
der Knaap

(born 1951)
State Secretary Defence Human
Resources

Equipment
22 July 2002 –
18 December 2007
[Continued]
Christian
Democratic Appeal
Netherlands politic personality icon.svg Clémence Ross-
van Dorp

(born 1957)
State Secretary Health, Welfare
and Sport
Elderly Care
Youth Care
Disability Policy
Medical Ethics
Sport
22 July 2002 –
22 February 2007
[Continued]
Christian
Democratic Appeal
Mark Rutte Mark Rutte
(born 1967)
State Secretary Social Affairs and
Employment
• Social Security
• Unemployment
Occupational
Safety

• Social Services
22 July 2002 –
17 June 2004
[Continued]
People's Party
for Freedom and
Democracy
Netherlands politic personality icon.svg Philomena Bijlhout
(born 1957)
Family Policy
Equality
Emancipation
22 July 2002 –
24 July 2002
[Res]
Pim Fortuyn List
Netherlands politic personality icon.svg Khee Liang Phoa
(born 1955)
9 September 2002 –
27 May 2003
Pim Fortuyn List
Annette Nijs Annette Nijs
(born 1961)
State Secretary Education, Culture
and Science
Higher
Education

Adult
Education

Science Policy
22 July 2002 –
9 June 2004
[Continued]
People's Party
for Freedom and
Democracy
Netherlands politic personality icon.svg Cees van Leeuwen
(born 1951)
Media
Culture
Art
22 July 2002 –
27 May 2003
Pim Fortuyn List
Melanie Schultz van Haegen Melanie Schultz
van Haegen

(born 1970)
State Secretary Transport and
Water Management
Public
Infrastructure

Public
Transport

Aviation
Rail Transport
Water
Management

Weather
Forecasting
22 July 2002 –
22 February 2007
[Continued]
People's Party
for Freedom and
Democracy
Netherlands politic personality icon.svg Jan Odink
(1944–2018)
State Secretary Agriculture, Nature
and Fisheries
• Fisheries
• Forestry
Animal Welfare
22 July 2002 –
27 May 2003
Pim Fortuyn List
Pieter van Geel Pieter van Geel
(born 1951)
State Secretary Housing, Spatial
Planning and
the Environment
Environmental
Policy
22 July 2002 –
22 February 2007
[Continued]
Christian
Democratic Appeal
Resigned
Continued in the next cabinet
Acting
Designated with the diplomatic rank of Minister

References[edit]

  1. ^ "LPF" (in Dutch). Andere Tijden. 16 November 2006. Retrieved 11 August 2017.
  2. ^ "Dutch minister resigns within hours", BBC News (Tuesday, 23 July 2002)
  3. ^ Telegraaf 2002-10-10
  4. ^ www.regering.nl 2002-12-02
  5. ^ www.regering.nl 2002-11-19

External links[edit]

Official