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The Third Balkenende cabinet was the cabinet of the Netherlands from 7 July 2006 until 22 February 2007. The cabinet was formed by the political parties Christian Democratic Appeal (CDA) and the People's Party for Freedom and Democracy (VVD) after the resignation of the Second Balkenende cabinet. The right-wing rump cabinet served as a caretaker government until the election of 2006.

Third Balkenende cabinet
Flag of the Netherlands.svg
66th cabinet of the Netherlands
Kabinet-Balkenende III.jpg ZetelsBalkenendeIII.svg
The installation of the Third Balkenende cabinet on 7 July 2006
Date formed7 July 2006 (2006-07-07)
Date dissolved22 February 2007 (2007-02-22)
(Demissionary from 22 November 2006 (2006-11-22))
People and organisations
MonarchQueen Beatrix
Prime MinisterJan Peter Balkenende
Deputy Prime MinisterGerrit Zalm
No. of ministers16
Total no. of ministers18
Member partyChristian Democratic Appeal
(CDA)
People's Party for
Freedom and Democracy

(VVD)
Status in legislatureRight-wing Caretaker government
Opposition partyLabour Party
Opposition leaderWouter Bos
History
Outgoing election2006 election
Legislature term(s)2003–2007
Outgoing formation2006–2007 formation
PredecessorSecond Balkenende cabinet
SuccessorFourth Balkenende cabinet

FormationEdit

Following the fall of the Second Balkenende cabinet the Democrats 66 (D66) left the coalition and the Christian Democratic Appeal and the People's Party for Freedom and Democracy formed a rump cabinet. On 1 July 2006 Queen Beatrix appointed former Prime Minister Ruud Lubbers (CDA) as Informateur to investigate the possibilities for a caretaker government. Its main tasks were the preparation of the early general election on 22 November 2006 and of the 2007 budget.[1] Its main tasks were the preparation of the early general election on 22 November 2006 and of the 2007 budget

The cabinet consisted of 16 ministers and 7 State Secretaries. These positions were distributed among the coalition parties according to their size in parliament: the Christian Democratic Appeal obtained 9 ministers and 4 State Secretaries, and the People's Party for Freedom and Democracy obtained 7 ministers and 3 State Secretaries. All members of this cabinet had also served in the second Balkenende cabinet, except for Bruno Bruins (VVD) the State Secretary for Education, Culture and Science who was scheduled to succeed former State Secretary Mark Rutte (VVD) when the Second Balkenende cabinet fell unexpectedly. State Secretary for Finance Joop Wijn (CDA) and State Secretary for Foreign Affairs Atzo Nicolaï (VVD) were promoted from State Secretaries to Minister of Economic Affairs (Wijn) and Minister for Government Reform and Kingdom Relations (Nicolaï) to replace the Democrats 66 ministers of the second Balkenende cabinet.[2]

TermEdit

Although the constituent parties of the cabinet did not have a majority in the House of Representatives, the cabinet had full power to propose laws, each of which needed to be supported by an ad hoc majority in parliament. Such minority government are rare in Dutch politics; the previous one was the Third Van Agt cabinet from 1982 to 1983, also a rump cabinet. The Christian Democratic Appeal and the People's Party for Freedom and Democracy did have a majority (38 of 75 seats) in the Senate.

Schiphol fireEdit

On 27 October 2005, a fire erupted at a detention center at Amsterdam Airport Schiphol, resulting in the death of 11 detainees from foreign countries. From the start, doubts were shed on the organisation of the involved government agencies. On 21 September 2006, the Dutch Safety Board presented the final report on the problems in the Schiphol prison. The report explicitly stated that "fewer or even no casualties" would have occurred if the government had upheld the legal safety standards. Based on these harsh conclusions, Minister of Justice Piet Hein Donner (CDA) responsible for prisons, and

Minister of Housing, Spatial Planning and the Environment Sybilla Dekker (VVD), responsible for government buildings resigned immediately. The mayor of Haarlemmermeer Fons Hertog, the community in which Amsterdam Airport Schiphol, is located resigned at the same day.

On 22 September 2006, two new ministers were assigned to the posts left by Donner and Dekker. Ernst Hirsch Ballin of the CDA was the new Minister of Justice. During a much earlier third Lubbers cabinet, he had held the same position, from which he resigned in 1994 after the IRT-affair. Until his appointment as Minister of Justice, he had been the president of the Council of State. A former Minister of the Environment in the first Lubbers cabinet, VVD member Pieter Winsemius resigned as a member of the Scientific Council for Government Policy and replaced Dekker as housing minister.[3]

General amnestyEdit

On 30 November 2006, the new parliament was sworn in, including several members of the then demissionary cabinet. Because of the election results, this House of Representatives had a majority of parties that opposed the course of the third cabinet Balkenende on important issues. One important election issue was an amnesty for a specific group of asylum seekers. This group originally consisted of 26.000 and later 38.000 people who had been in an administrative immigration process since 2001, and many of their children were raised exclusively in the Netherlands. The Minister for Integration and Immigration Rita Verdonk was looking into each of these dossiers to assess their future: either expulsion or permanent residence. On 1 December, the new House of Representatives adopted a motion to suspend all expulsions of asylum seekers from this group until a final decision on a general amnesty was made. Balkenende reacted annoyed as he stated that this ad hoc left-wing coalition (including PvdA and SP) was not a good basis for negotiations for a stable government.[4] On 5 December, the cabinet declared not to execute this motion for three reasons: first, it claimed that a parliament which deals with a care taker cabinet cannot demand that cabinet to implement new policies; second, it argued that a general amnesty would attract more asylum seeker; third, it raised several questions on what specific groups of asylum seekers should be amnestied and what the legal consequences would be for other groups not included in the amnesty. Minister Verdonk did announce that the expulsion would be suspended until the next parliamentary debate.[5] A majority in the House of Representatives now proposed to stop the expulsion of asylum seekers until formation talks for a new government were finished, and to allow the formation talks to solve this issue. Again, the cabinet refused to execute this motion.[6][7] On 13 December, the House of Representatives decided to respond to this unwillingness by a motion of no confidence specifically oriented at Minister Verdonk. The leader of the VVD, Mark Rutte announced that if Minister Verdonk would be forced to leave the cabinet all VVD ministers would leave: leaving only seven CDA ministers in the cabinet. On 14 December, the cabinet held a meeting on how to respond to this motion: the cabinet found a solution in a portfolio reshuffle between Verdonk and Ernst Hirsch Balin, the Minister of Justice, who became responsible for immigration, while Verdonk became responsible for youth criminality. Hirsh Balin could then partially execute the House of Representatives motion calling for a temporary halt to expulsions, while the VVD could voice its opposition to this decision, breaking the principle that cabinets speak with one voice.[8]

Cabinet MembersEdit

Ministers Title/Ministry Term of office Party
  Dr.
Jan Peter Balkenende
(born 1956)
Prime Minister General Affairs 22 July 2002 –
14 October 2010
[Retained]
Christian Democratic Appeal
  Gerrit Zalm
(born 1952)
Deputy Prime Minister /
Minister
Finance 27 May 2003 –
22 February 2007
[Retained]
People's Party for
Freedom and Democracy
  Johan Remkes
(born 1951)
Minister Interior and Kingdom
Relations
22 July 2002 –
22 February 2007
[Retained]
People's Party for
Freedom and Democracy
  Dr.
Ben Bot
(born 1937)
Minister Foreign Affairs 3 December 2003 –
22 February 2007
[Retained]
Christian Democratic Appeal
  Piet Hein Donner
(born 1948)
Minister Justice 22 July 2002 –
21 September 2006
[Retained] [Res]
Christian Democratic Appeal
  Rita Verdonk
(born 1955)
21 September 2006 –
22 September 2006
[Ad interim]
People's Party for
Freedom and Democracy
  Dr.
Ernst Hirsch Ballin
(born 1950)
22 September 2006 –
14 October 2010
Christian Democratic Appeal
  Joop Wijn
(born 1969)
Minister Economic Affairs 7 July 2006 –
22 February 2007
Christian Democratic Appeal
  Henk Kamp
(born 1952)
Minister Defence 12 December 2002 –
22 February 2007
[Retained]
People's Party for
Freedom and Democracy
  Hans Hoogervorst
(born 1956)
Minister Health, Welfare
and Sport
27 May 2003 –
22 February 2007
[Retained]
People's Party for
Freedom and Democracy
  Aart Jan de Geus
(born 1955)
Minister Social Affairs and
Employment
22 July 2002 –
22 February 2007
[Retained]
Christian Democratic Appeal
  Maria van der Hoeven
(born 1949)
Minister Education, Culture
and Science
22 July 2002 –
22 February 2007
[Retained]
Christian Democratic Appeal
  Karla Peijs
(born 1944)
Minister Transport and
Water Management
27 May 2003 –
22 February 2007
[Retained]
Christian Democratic Appeal
  Dr.
Cees Veerman
(born 1949)
Minister Agriculture, Nature
and Food Quality
1 July 2003 –
22 February 2007
[Retained]
Christian Democratic Appeal
  Sybilla Dekker
(born 1942)
Minister Housing, Spatial Planning
and the Environment
23 May 2003 –
21 September 2006
[Retained] [Res]
People's Party for
Freedom and Democracy
  Karla Peijs
(born 1944)
21 September 2006 –
26 September 2006
[Ad interim]
Christian Democratic Appeal
  Dr.
Pieter Winsemius
(born 1942)
26 September 2006 –
22 February 2007
People's Party for
Freedom and Democracy
Ministers without portfolio Title/Portfolio/Ministry Term of office Party
  Atzo Nicolaï
(born 1960)
Minister Government Reform
and Kingdom Relations

(within Interior and Kingdom
Relations
)
7 July 2006 –
22 February 2007
People's Party for
Freedom and Democracy
  Agnes van Ardenne
(born 1950)
Minister Development Cooperation

(within Foreign Affairs)
27 May 2003 –
22 February 2007
[Retained]
Christian Democratic Appeal
  Rita Verdonk
(born 1955)
Minister Integration and Asylum Affairs
(within Justice)
27 May 2003 –
14 December 2006
[Retained]
People's Party for
Freedom and Democracy
Integration and Rehabilitation
(within Justice)
14 December 2006 –
22 February 2007
State Secretaries Title/Portfolio/Ministry Term of office Party
  Karien van Gennip
(born 1968)
State Secretary • International Trade
• Export Promotion
• Small Business Policy
• Retail Policy
• Regional Development
• Consumer Protection
• Digital Infrastructure
• Tourism Affairs

(within Economic Affairs)
27 May 2003 –
22 February 2007
[Retained]
Christian Democratic Appeal
  Cees van der Knaap
(born 1951)
State Secretary • Personnel Affairs
• Equipment Policy

(within Defence)
22 July 2002 –
18 December 2007
[Retained]
Christian Democratic Appeal
  Clémence Ross-van Dorp
(born 1957)
State Secretary • Youth Policy
• Elderly Policy
• Disability Affairs
• Veteran Affairs
• Biotechnology Policy
• Medical Ethics Policy
• Sport

(within Health, Welfare
and Sport
)
22 July 2002 –
22 February 2007
[Retained]
Christian Democratic Appeal
  Henk van Hoof
(born 1947)
State Secretary • Social Security
• Unemployment Affairs
• Occupational Safety
• Social Services
• Poverty Policy

(within Social Affairs and
Employment
)
17 June 2004 –
22 February 2007
[Retained]
People's Party for
Freedom and Democracy
  Bruno Bruins
(born 1963)
State Secretary • Higher Education
• Adult Education
• Science Policy
• Media Affairs
• Culture Policy
• Arts Policy

(within Education, Culture
and Science
)
29 June 2006 –
22 February 2007
[Retained]
People's Party for
Freedom and Democracy
  Melanie Schultz van Haegen
(born 1970)
State Secretary • Transport Infrastructure
• Aviation Infrastructure
• Water Infrastructure
• Public Transport
• Weather Forecasting Service

(within Transport and
Water Management
)
22 July 2002 –
22 February 2007
[Retained]
People's Party for
Freedom and Democracy
  Pieter van Geel
(born 1951)
State Secretary • Environmental Policy
• Nature Policy
• Environmental Remediation
• Sustainability Policy

(within Housing, Spatial Planning
and the Environment
)
22 July 2002 –
22 February 2007
[Retained]
Christian Democratic Appeal
Source: (in Dutch) Kabinet-Balkenende III Rijksoverheid
Retained Retained this position from the previous cabinet.
Res Resigned.
Ad interim Served ad interim.

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ Dutch PM to lead minority government, Financial Times, 5 July 2006
  2. ^ Dutch news in brief, Expatica, 5 July 2006
  3. ^ Oudgedienden op Justitie en VROM (in Dutch) Archived 2006-10-21 at the Wayback Machine, NOS Journaal, 22 September 2006
  4. ^ "Balkenende maakt links fors verwijt" (in Dutch). nu.nl. 2006-12-01.
  5. ^ "Partijen vinden brief Verdonk onvoldoende" (in Dutch). Tubantia. 2006-12-05.
  6. ^ "Dutch caretaker government plunged into crisis by motion condemning immigration minister". IHT. 2006-12-13.
  7. ^ "Dutch caretaker-government faces collapse". Financial Times. 2006-12-13.
  8. ^ "Kabinet en Verdonk blijven zitten" (in Dutch). De Volkskrant. 2006-12-15.

External linksEdit

Official