Christian Democrat leader Jan Peter Balkenende starts the task of putting together his fourth cabinet on Monday following his formal appointment as formateur by Queen Beatrix on Friday.
His first job will be decide on ministerial posts in consultation with the leaders of his Labour (PvdA) and ChristenUnie (CU) coalition partners and Maxime Verhagen, the vice parliamentary leader of his own CDA.
The political division of cabinet posts is already known: CDA will get eight ministers and five junior ministers, Labour six and four, ChristenUnie two and one.
The top jobs will go to Balkenende (prime minister), PvdA leader Wouter Bos (finance minister and deputy prime minister), CU’s Andre Rouvoet (deputy prime minister and probably minister for youth and family) and
Maxime Verhagen who is almost certain to become foreign minister.
Other names that are almost certain to join the cabinet are Amsterdam’s council executive Ahmed Aboutaleb (integration, social affairs or education) CU senator senator Eimert van Middelkoop (possibly defence).
According to ANP the most controversial posts are social affairs and the environment.
Balkenende says he wants to decide on Labour’s ministerial posts by next weekend in time for its party congress.
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