Klaas Dijkhoff takes over as Defense Minister

Klaas Dijkhoff (Photo: Rijksoverheid.nl/Wikimedia Commons). (Klaas Dijkhoff (Photo: Rijksoverheid.nl/Wikimedia Commons))

Klaas Dijkhoff (VVD) will be the Minister of Defense for the final weeks of the departing government's reign. He is taking over from Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert, who stepped down on Tuesday due to a mortar grenade accident in Mali that killed two Dutch soldiers last year. King Willem-Alexander swore Dijkhoff in on Wednesday morning, AD reports.

Dijkhoff said that he will first "listen well" to his new colleagues in Defense, and then see what he can do to bring some stability to the ministry. Before this, Dijkhoff was State Secretary of Security and Justice - a role he took over from Fred Teeven, when he stepped down due to a controversial deal he made with a drug criminal in 2000.

The new Defense Minister did not want to speculate on whether he will keep this post under the new government, which is currently in the final stages of the formation process. "This is for now and it is not an advance on the future", he said, according to AD.

The formation parties of VVD, CDA, D66 and ChristenUnie also did not want to comment on the post of Minister of Defense in the Rutte III government. "This is the step currently necessary to ensure that the departing government can continue to function on all posts", VVD faction chairman Halbe Zijlstra said to the newspaper. "What it means for the future is for the future."

D66 leader Alexander Pechtold and ChristenUnie leader Gert-Jan Segers both emphasized that the future of Dijkhoff and Hennis is mainly in the hands of the VVD.