Dutch PM seeks approval to continue with rump Cabinet

30th June 2006, Comments 0 comments

30 June 2006, AMSTERDAM — Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende is pushing for approval to continue with a minority government rather than a powerless caretaker administration.

30 June 2006

AMSTERDAM — Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende is pushing for approval to continue with a minority government rather than a powerless caretaker administration.

Balkenende said after a meeting of his fallen Cabinet on Friday that a government with clout was needed to formulate the 2007 Budget. The deployment of 1,400 troops to Afghanistan in August will also need strong guidance from The Hague, he said.

His Christian Democrats and their government allies, the Liberal Party (VVD), are keen to continue in office as a minority government. They would require the support of one or more of the opposition parties.

The most obvious candidate is the populist LPF, the party responsible for the implosion of Balkenende's first coalition after 87 days in 2002. Opinion polls suggest the LPF will be wiped out in the next election.

Balkenende's second coalition government collapsed after three years on Thursday after junior partner D66 withdrew its support. D66 had demanded the resignation of Immigration Minster Rita Verdonk as the price of its continued support. The CDA and VVD refused to sacrifice the Liberal minister.

Verdonk angered D66 by refusing to admit she had made any mistakes in the Ayaan Hirsi Ali passport affair. She also made Hirsi Ali sign a statement taking all the blame on herself.

Balkenende went to Queen Beatrix on Friday morning to tender his government's resignation. Precedence dictates that his ministers stay on in a caretaker capacity, without implementing new or controversial proposals.

The Queen, on Balkenende's advice, will now open a round of consultation with all party leaders. The left-wing opposition are pushing for early elections and are opposing the idea of letting the CDA and VVD continue in a minority government.

[Copyright Expatica News + ANP 2006]

Subject: Dutch news

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