Dutch gov't to appoint "designated survivor" for emergencies

Prime Minister Mark Rutte wants to appoint a "designated survivor" - a Minister that won't attend large gatherings like Budget Day in the future, so that there is someone who can run the country should an extreme emergency suddenly arise - he said in a proposal to the Tweede Kamer, ANP reports.

At big events like Budget Day, where the entire government and parliament are present, the Council of Ministers will pick a Minister who will not attend the event, Rutte proposed. If there is an attack or disaster in which the entire government is killed or injured, there will at least be one Minister left to keep the country running. The Tweede Kamer, the lower house of Dutch parliament, could also consider a similar "practical precautionary measure", Rutte said.

The Dutch Constitution includes many regulations about successors in such extraordinary circumstances. But it is the government's task to prevent the implementation of these emergency regulations where possible and to make sure that the country is run as democratically as possible, according to the news wire. 

No further announcements will be made about this measure, for security reasons.

The Prime Minister was responding to questions from D66 parliamentarian Joost Sneller about the state of affairs in very extreme emergencies, such as if the government and parliament can no longer function. Sneller emphasized the importance of having a solution prepared. "It is also important in an extreme emergency situation that the governance of the Netherlands remains democratically legitimized. It is good that the Prime Minister now agrees with me that the current regulation is not good enough and that he wants to prepare the cabinet in any case."

"Designated survivor" is an American term recently made popular by a television series with the same name in which almost the entire American government and Congress died in an attack.

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