Minister resigns following interview controversy

9th June 2004, Comments 0 comments

9 June 2004 , AMSTERDAM — A "politically battered" Liberal VVD Education State Secretary Annette Nijs resigned on Wednesday after sparking outrage when she went public about her conflict with Education Minister Maria van der Hoeven.

9 June 2004

AMSTERDAM — A "politically battered" Liberal VVD Education State Secretary Annette Nijs resigned on Wednesday after sparking outrage when she went public about her conflict with Education Minister Maria van der Hoeven.

Resigned... State Secretary Annette Nijs

The junior minister had been strongly rebuked on Tuesday by all political parties for giving an interview with magazine Nieuwe Revu. She indicated in the interview that Christian Democrat CDA Minister Van der Hoeven did not trust her and withheld information.

Despite surviving an emergency debate in the Lower House of Parliament, Tweede Kamer, Nijs said she no longer had the chance to carry out her policies, convincing her that she had to resign, news agency ANP reported.

"I am an ambitious state secretary who has long-term plans to reform higher and professional education in an open and clear way to bring the people who it really affects closer to politics," Nijs said.

"I think that is important for Dutch society and the Dutch voter. I do not have the faith that I will get the room needed to do this."

Nijs had been criticised by MPs on Tuesday for acting unwisely by masking the statements she gave to Nieuwe Revue, but opposition parties did not submit a motion of no confidence against her.

Main opposition party Labour PvdA MP, Mariette Hamer, had said another error will not be permitted, while green-left GroenLinks leader Femke Halsema said Nijs was "politically battered".

Nijs admitted she regretted her interview and had not wished to lay accusations against the minister. Instead, Nijs said she had wanted to say that her relationship with Van der Hoeven was now good. She distanced herself from the message the interview conveyed.

"I did not say that the minister played political games and had withheld information," Nijs told MPs.

Both Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende and VVD party chiefs said on Tuesday that Nijs could continue functioning in her present position. Van der Hoeven had also said she accepted the apology from Nijs and had faith in their continued working relationship.

Van der Hoeven thus said on Wednesday she was completely surprised by Nijs' resignation, claiming that it came like "bolt from the blue". The education minister also labelled the resignation of her deputy as a "pity".

[Copyright Expatica News 2004]

Subject: Dutch news

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