Three vacancies in the Dutch cabinet following shake-ups
The State Secretary for Infrastructure and Water Management, Stientje van Veldhoven, has said she plans to step down from her position, the government communications office confirmed. Van Veldhoven will become Vice President and European Director for the World Resources Institute starting on September 1.
Her political party, D66, has been tasked with choosing a new politician to fill the job. Minister of Infrastructure and Water Management Cora van Nieuwenhuizen will temporarily take over Van Veldhoven's responsibilities until a new state secretary is appointed.
At the same time, D66 is also on the lookout for a new Minister of Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation. Sigrid Kaag, the party leader, maintained the portfolio for that role even after becoming the Minister of Foreign Affairs. Kaag has indicated that the two functions were very difficult to combine due to their "nature and size." Furthermore, she said she was also spending a significant amount of time to the Cabinet formation process.
Kaag took over at Foreign Affairs in May when Stef Blok moved out to lead the Ministry of Economic Affairs. Blok was tapped to temporarily replace Bas van 't Wout, who informed Prime Minister Mark Rutte this week that he will not be returning to the office during the resignation period of the caretaker Cabinet. Van ‘t Wout has been taking time off due to burnout complaints.
Consequently, the shuffling of positions over the past two months means there is still a vacancy in the number two spot at the Ministry of Social Affairs. Rutte's VVD will fill that state secretary position. Minister Wouter Koolmees, who held both the Ministerial and State Secretary positions since January, has also made it clear he can no longer manage both functions.
Dutch King Willem Alexander also spoken to Mariëtte Hamer on Friday. She is the informateur helping to guide the ongoing Cabinet formation process out of deadlock. The two spoke in regard to the newest developments, but no details of the call were revealed.