Half of upcoming Cabinet ministers are women; Rutte to meet all 29 candidates one by one
The new Cabinet includes the participation of many more women than the outgoing third Rutte Cabinet. Fourteen of the 29 Cabinet members are women, including 10 out of the 20 ministers, and four out of nine state secretaries, a junior position subordinate to the ministers. The 20 people in the most senior roles of the Cabinet make up the Council of Ministers, who, along with King Willem-Alexander, control executive power in the Netherlands.
The average age of the new Cabinet, expected to be sworn in on January 10, is slightly older than that of Rutte III. When that Cabinet took office, the average member’s age was 49. In the Rutte IV Cabinet, the average is 50 years.
The youngest candidate minister is Maarten van Ooijen. The 31-year-old ChristenUnie politician will become State Secretary at the Ministry of Health.
Eleven of the 29 ministers were part of the previous Cabinet at some point. Coalition partner D66 brought the most professionals from outside the world of politics to the new Cabinet, including well-known figures such as Ernst Kuipers and Robbert Dijkgraaf who will take over prominent ministerial posts. Sigrid Kaag, the D66 leader, will also become the country’s first ever female finance minister.
Like Kaag, CDA member Wopke Hoekstra wants to lead his party from the Trêveszaal, the historic space inside Rutte’s Ministry of General Affairs, which serves as the board room for the Council of Ministers. Hoekstra will leave the Ministry of Finance to become both Deputy Prime Minister and the Minister of Foreign Affairs. ChristenUnie party leader Gert-Jan Segers will resume work at the Tweede Kamer. He once again put Carola Schouten forward to serve as Deputy Prime Minister. She will transition from the Ministry of Agriculture to the Ministry of Social Affairs and Work Opportunity, where she will be the minister handling issues related to poverty and social participation.
VVD leader Mark Rutte will return to his office in the Torrentje, the small tower that serves as the prime minister’s office and the Ministry of General Affairs. Rutte put forward a relatively high number of women for senior Cabinet positions. Of the eight ministers VVD will fill, five of them are women. In 2017, Cora van Nieuwenhuizen was the only female minister from the VVD to be sworn in by the king, a decision which led to heavy criticism against the prime minister. Though their party leader is a woman, D66 is only filling two of its six minister jobs with women, while CDA and ChristenUnie each have put forward an equal number of female and male ministers.
Rutte will meet with six of the candidate ministers on Monday, starting with Hoekstra (CDA). He will then meet with Dilan Yesilgöz (VVD), the new Minister of Justice and Security, followed by Franc Weerwind (D66), the candidate Minister for Legal Protection. Additionally, he will meet Eric van der Burg, the next State Secretary of Asylum and Immigration.
Rutte will hold an online meeting with scientist Robbert Dijkgraaf, who will become Minister of Education, Culture and Science on behalf of D66. Dijkgraaf is currently the director of the prestigious Institute for Advanced Research at Princeton University. VVD member Dennis Wiersma, who will become Minister for Primary and Secondary Education, will visit Rutte at 4 p.m., and is the last minister to visit on Monday.
For Rutte, the coming days will be dominated by meetings with the new Cabinet team, including the 19 other ministers and the nine state secretary candidates. He will then discuss the proposed Cabinet with King Willem-Alexander, who is expected to swear in the Cabinet on January 10.
Reporting by ANP