Senate questions dual minister roles; Wilders attacks justice minister

Mark Rutte and Ferdinand Grapperhaus. Photo Roel Rozenburg via HH

The Dutch upper house of parliament has called on prime minister Mark Rutte to explain why four ministries in the new cabinet will have two ministers.

Senate chairwoman Anti Broekers-Knol has asked Rutte which minister in the dual ministries will be the effective boss. The constitution, she points out, states that ministries are led by a minister, and that makes it impossible for two people to be in charge.

Four ministries in Rutte’s third cabinet have two ministers: Justice and security; health, welfare and sport; education, culture and science, and foreign affairs. Ministers are members of the cabinet. Junior ministers – staatssecretarissen – are not.

The new ministers and junior ministers are meeting on Wednesday afternoon to finalise their roles in the new government.

Meanwhile, PVV leader Geert Wilders said on Wednesday that he will pull out all the stops to have Ferdinand Grapperhaus (CDA) removed as one of two justice ministers.

Wilders says Grapperhaus is a danger to national security for writing in a personal blog in 2015 that jihadis should be allowed to return to the Netherlands and that they cannot be stripped of their Dutch nationality.

Grapperhaus, a lawyer by profession, has also described Wilders in the past as being ‘not accountable for his actions’.