Outgoing defence minister Klaas Dijkhoff to lead the 33 VVD MPs

Photo: Regering.nl

Outgoing defence and junior justice minister Klaas Dijkhoff is taking over from Halbe Zijlstra as leader of the group of 33 VVD parliamentarians.

Zijlstra, who was a minister in the first cabinet led by prime minister Mark Rutte from 2010 to 2012, is joining his third cabinet as minister of foreign affairs.

MPs had until Sunday to say they wanted to do the job, but Dijkhoff, who had earlier expressed his interest, is the only one to come forward.

Commentators say the complex nature of the new coalition, plus its tiny majority in the lower house of parliament, will make party discipline a vital issue in the coming cabinet period.