Rutte replaces Nijs as deputy education chief
16 June 2004
AMSTERDAM — Social Affairs State Secretary Mark Rutte will be appointed Education State Secretary following the shock resignation of Annette Nijs last week, the Government Information Service (RVD) confirmed on Wednesday.
Former Liberal VVD MP and Defence State Secretary Henk van Hoof will take up the social affairs portfolio vacated by VVD junior minister Rutte, news agency ANP reported on Wednesday.
It was reported in December that Dutch journalists chose Rutte, 37, as the political talent of 2003. Only those who made their debut in Parliament in 2002 or 2003 were eligible for the award. Rutte is considered as a possible future VVD party leader.
He was appointed as a state secretary in 2002, and besides serving as the chairman of the Liberal youth organisation JOVD, Rutte was appointed to the position despite having no previous political experience, newspaper De Volkskrant reported.
Rutte’s appointment as Education State Secretary came after a politically battered Nijs resigned on 9 June for sparking outrage when she went public about her conflict with Christian Democrat CDA Education Minister Maria van der Hoeven.
The junior VVD minister had been strongly rebuked by all political parties for giving an interview indicating that Van der Hoeven did not trust her and withheld information.
Despite surviving an emergency debate in the Lower House of Parliament Nijs said she no longer had the chance to carry out her policies, convincing her that she had to resign.
Both Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende and VVD party chiefs had earlier said that Nijs could continue functioning in her present position. Van der Hoeven said she was taken completely by surprise by Nijs’ resignation and labelled it as a “pity”.
[Copyright Expatica News 2004]
Subject: Dutch news