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New Dutch government officially sworn in

11-05-2012 20:20 BJT

THE HAGUE, Nov. 5 (Xinhua) -- The new Dutch government of Liberals VVD and Labor PvdA was officially sworn in by Queen Beatrix on Monday at the Huis ten Bosch Palace in The Hague.

According to tradition the new ministers pledged allegiance to the Dutch constitution and promised to discharge their duties faithfully. For the first time this happened in public and was broadcasted live on television.

The five ministers who already served in the former cabinet were exempted from the obligation because they have already done so during the last inauguration. After all the new ministers were sworn in, the second government of Prime Minister Mark Rutte was officially a fact.

The inauguration was followed by the traditional scene on the terrace of the palace, where the media were able to take pictures of the entire cabinet accompanied by Queen Beatrix. When the ministers left the stage, it was time for the state secretaries to be sworn in.

The duration of the formation of the new government, which was initiated by the parliament instead of the Queen for the first time, took 54 days since the elections on September 12, which is very short for Dutch circumstances. The formation of the first Cabinet of Rutte took 127 days.

Since the elections, in which the VVD (41 seats) and PvdA (38 seats) became the biggest parties, both parties negotiated forming a cabinet together. An agreement was reached one week ago in which both parties made concessions.

The agreement on making the health insurance premium dependent on income led to heavy criticism of especially the VVD voters and members. Through the new rule the middle and especially the higher incomes are expected to pay more, while the lower incomes pay less. The VVD, traditionally a party of the higher incomes, was harassed with furious reactions of voters and members.

Rutte will lead the Dutch government for the second time in a row. His team consists of a total of thirteen ministers. Among others the 38-year-old Lodewijk Asscher, former PvdA Councilor in Amsterdam, was appointed as vice-Prime Minister, Frans Timmermans (PvdA) will be the new Minister of Foreign Affairs, Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert (VVD) is the first ever woman on Defense, Henk Kamp (VVD) was appointed at Economic Affairs and Jeroen Dijsselbloem (PvdA) will be the new Minister of Finance.

The new ministers returned to their offices after the inauguration where they will be handed the files by their predecessors. From 16:00 hours, the first meeting of the ministerial council is scheduled. On Thursday, Rutte will hold his first government speech in the parliament in which he explains the plans of the new government.


Editor:James |Source: Xinhua

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