With the coalition agreement all but completed and all and sundry expressing their satisfaction/disappointment/neutrality over the new government’s strategy it is time for what The Hague likes to call the ‘poppetjes’.
The poppetjes (little dolls) are of course the ministers and junior ministers who are going to put all these fine plans into action. In total, about 26 posts are up for grabs, 16 full ministers and 10 junior ministers or staatssecretarissen.
Some jobs are already as good as filled – Jan Pieter Balkenende will stay on as PM, Labour leader Wouter Bos is set to be finance minister and Christian Democrat stalwart Maxime Verhagen is tipped for foreign affairs.
For the rest, dozens of names are being circulated – all with an eye on a fair distribution of power and prestige. Like the coalition agreement, cabinet jobs are also the result of political horse-trading: if the CDA gets the justice ministry, then Labour should have home affairs. And the orthodox Christian ChristenUnie party seems set to get the newly-created ministerial post of youth and family affairs.
A most generous thank-you from Bos and Balkenende for the CU’s constructive role during the coalition talks – ie for not kicking up too much of a fuss about banning all those ‘anti-family’ institutions like gay marriage and prostitution.