Cabinet will miss Donner and Dekker

Justice and planning ministers Piet Hein Donner and Sybilla Dekker, who resigned following yesterday’s critical report on the Schiphol fire, will be missed, said cabinet colleagues going into their weekly Friday afternoon meeting, reported the Telegraaf website.

Only integration minister Rita Verdonk, who was heavily protected by security personnel, refused to make any comment, the paper added. Verdonk has survived several parliamentary debates in which she has been criticised for her harsh treatment of asylum-seekers. The Schiphol fire killed 11 people awaiting deportation.
Meanwhile the Volkskrant reports that no fewer than 13 ministers and state secretaries have resigned during the four-year reign of prime minister Jan Peter Balkenende. Three left following a vote of no confidence and another three because of political squabbles (two of these were from the LPF (List Pim Fortuyn) party which was a coalition partner in the first Balkenende cabinet. Two stepped down following a scandal of some sort and another two had better offers elsewhere – Mark Rutte who decided he would rather lead the parliamentary Liberal VVD party and Jaap de Hoop-Scheffer who is now Nato secretary general). Interestingly, only one left for principle reasons – centre-left D66’s Thom de Graaf decided he could not stay on after his proposal for introducing elected mayors was rejected by the upper house.

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