Fourth Balkenende cabinet
67th Cabinet of the Netherlands
|Date formed||22 February 2007|
|Date dissolved||20 February 2010
(Replaced on 14 October 2010)
|People and organisations|
|Head of government||Jan Pieter Balkenende|
|Head of state||Beatrix of the Netherlands|
|Member party||Christian Democratic Appeal (CDA)
Labour Party (PvdA)
|Outgoing election||Dutch general election, 2010|
|This article is part of a series on the
politics and government of
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.
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
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.567 Coalition party PvdA strongly opposed the extension of the mission.8910 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 cabinet11 and led to its fall in the early morning of 20 February.12131415
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 party19
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.
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.
|Prime Minister||General Affairs||Jan Peter Balkenende||CDA|
|Deputy Prime Minister /
Minister Resigned 20 February 2010
|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
|Minister||Foreign Affairs||Maxime Verhagen||CDA|
|Minister||Justice Caretaker minister Interior and Kingdom Relations from 23 February 2010||Ernst Hirsch Ballin||CDA|
|Minister Resigned 20 February 2010||Interior and Kingdom Relations||Guusje ter Horst||PvdA|
|Minister Resigned 20 February 2010||Education, Culture and Science||Ronald Plasterk||PvdA|
|Minister||Defence Caretaker minister Housing, Neighbourhoods and Integration from 23 February 2010||Eimert van Middelkoop||CU|
|Minister||Transport, Public Works and Water Management||Camiel Eurlings||CDA|
|Minister||Economic Affairs||Maria van der Hoeven||CDA|
|Minister||Agriculture, Nature and Food Quality||Gerda Verburg||CDA|
|Minister||Social Affairs and Employment||Piet Hein Donner||CDA|
|Minister||Health, Welfare and Sport||Ab Klink||CDA|
|Minister Resigned 20 February 2010||Spatial Planning and Environment||Jacqueline Cramer||PvdA|
|Minister without Portfolio Resigned 20 February 2010||Housing, Neighbourhoods and Integration
(within Housing, Spatial Planning and the Environment)
|Eberhard van der Laan||PvdA|
|Minister without Portfolio Resigned 20 February 2010||Development Cooperation
(within Foreign Affairs)
|State Secretary* Resigned 20 February 2010||Foreign Affairs
|State Secretary* Resigned 20 February 2010||Economic Affairs
(Fiscal Affairs) Caretaker minister Finance from 23 February 2010
|Jan Kees de Jager||CDA|
|State Secretary Resigned 20 February 2010||Justice
|State Secretary||Interior and Kingdom Relations
|State Secretary||Education, Culture and Science
|Marja van Bijsterveldt||CDA|
|State Secretary Resigned 20 February 2010||Education, Culture and Science
(Childcare and Primary Education)
|State Secretary Resigned 14 May 2010||Defence
|Jack de Vries||CDA|
|State Secretary||Transport, Public Works and Water Management
(Water Management) Caretaker minister Spatial Planning and Environment from 23 February 2010
|State Secretary Resigned 20 February 2010||Social Affairs and Employment
|State Secretary Resigned 20 February 2010||Health, Welfare and Sport
(Care and Elderly)
|* 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|
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.2122 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:
- An innovative, competitive and entrepreneurial economy, which is characterized by these policies:
- 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:
- Government and a servile public sector23
- 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).
- "Balkenende clings to power as Dutch head for uneasy coalition"
- "Balkenende benoemd tot formateur" (in Dutch). NOS.nl. 9 February 2007. Retrieved 2007-02-10.
- "Kabinet Balkenende 4 rond" (in Dutch). nu.nl. 2007-02-13. Retrieved 2007-02-14.
- "Contact Balkenende met Beatrix" (in Dutch). NOS. Retrieved 2010-02-20.
- (Dutch)"NAVO verzoekt nieuwe missie Afghanistan"
- "NATO would like Dutch to train Afghan troops"
- (Dutch)"Kabinet onderzoekt langere missie Afghanistan"
- "Nato troop request sparks political row"
- (Dutch)"Conflict naar climax: nog deze week Uruzgan-besluit"
- "Labour says final 'no' to Afghanistan"
- "Will the Dutch government fall over troop deployment?"
- (Dutch)"Verklaring Balkenende na afloop ministerraad"
- (Dutch)"Kabinet-Balkenende IV gevallen"
- "Dutch government falls over Afghanistan mission"
- "Dutch Government Collapses Over Afghan Mission"
- "Balkenende offers resignation to queen"
- "Bos denies decision influenced by March poll"
- "FACTBOX – Collapse of Dutch government, what opinion polls say"
- "Uruzgan row boosts Labour Party popularity"
- "Kamerverkiezingen op 9 juni". De Volkskrant (in Dutch) (Amsterdam, Netherlands: PCM Uitgevers). 23 February 2010. Retrieved 23 February 2010.
- (Dutch) "Coalitieakkoord tussen de Tweede Kamerfracties van CDA, PvdA en ChristenUnie" (pdf). NOS News. 7 February 2007. Retrieved 2007-02-07.dead link
- "Coalition agreement summary" (in Dutch). NOS News. 7 February 2007. Retrieved 2007-02-07.
- Overheid en dienstbare publieke sector
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Cabinet Balkenende IV.|
- (Dutch) Fourth Balkenende cabinet at the website of the Dutch government
- News related to Dutch government collapses over Afghanistan troops at Wikinews