Queen Beatrix had doubts about Donner

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Reservations Queen Beatrix had regarding Interior Minister Piet Hein Donner’s candidacy as the next Vice-President of the Council of State delayed his appointment and have damaged his standing, newspaper NRC Handelsblad reports.

Before approving Mr Donner’s nomination, the Queen first questioned Mr Donner about his role during the formation of the current minority coalition with the support of Geert Wilders’ Freedom Party, the paper writes in a reconstruction of the controversial appointment procedure. Mr Donner’s appointment, effective as of 1 February 2012, was officially announced after Friday’s weekly cabinet meeting.

In its reconstruction, the paper quotes several sources in the conservative VVD party and the Christian Democrats, who form the minority coalition. Mr Donner, himself a Christian Democrat, is said to have put pressure on a number of Christian Democrat MPs to give their approval to the coalition’s cooperation agreement with Mr Wilders. This would have violated the right the Dutch constitution gives MPs to vote with absolute independence, irrespective of any party allegiance. Queen Beatrix only gave her approval to Mr Donner’s nomination, the paper claims, after the two discussed the matter during a ten-day state visit to the Dutch Antilles last October.

As a result of the reservations the Queen is said to have harboured, the official advertisement for the vacancy was published much later than the date Prime Minister Mark Rutte had initially announced. The ad, which had been due to appear in September, was eventually delayed until the middle of October. The subsequent procedure too suffered unexpected delays. The delays prompted widespread criticism, both in politics and the media, with regard to the procedure and Mr Donner himself, who was widely rumoured to be the leading candidate. Since then, two of the rejected candidates have submitted a request to the National Ombudsman to launch an inquiry into the procedure.

© Radio Netherlands Worldwide

© Radio Netherlands Worldwide

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