New Dutch Cabinet sworn in today after record long formation process
Almost exactly a year after the fall of the previous Cabinet, the Rutte IV Cabinet will stand on the steps of Noordeinde Palace on Monday. This is the final piece of the most prolonged formation process in Dutch parliamentary history due to a deep crisis of confidence that arose earlier in 2021.
Like his previous one, the new Cabinet of Prime Minister Mark Rutte consists of VVD, D66, CDA, and ChristenUnie. But according to the Prime Minister, his team of Ministers has "new impetus" compared to Rutte III. The Cabinet includes many faces from outside the political arena in The Hague, such as Robert Dijkgraaf (D66, Education, Culture, and Science), Ernst Kuipers (D66, Public Health), Conny Helder (VVD, Long-term Care), and Henk Staghouwer (CU, Agriculture). Old-timers who return will receive a new post. For example, former Foreign Affairs Minister Sigrid Kaag will go to Finance, Coronavirus Minister Hugo de Jonge will go to Housing, and Wopke Hoekstra (Finance) will become Minister of Foreign Affairs.
Rutte IV will be presented on the steps of Noordeinde Palace because there is more room there to comply with the coronavirus rules than at Huis ten Bosch Palace. D66 leader and first Deputy Prime Minister Kaag will not be there on Monday because she tested positive for Covid-19. She will be sworn in digitally and will not be on the steps photo.
Before the Ministers are photographed on the palace's steps, King Willem-Alexander will swear them in. The State Secretaries of the Cabinet to not stand on the steps after being sworn in.
In the afternoon, the transfer between the old and new Ministers will occur at the various Ministries. Then the team of Ministers will come together for their first real Council of Ministers. They also had consultations on Saturday, but they had not yet been sworn in and were not officially Ministers yet.
The arrival of Rutte IV seemed far from certain last year due to great mutual distrust on the Binnenhof. Rutte's political life seemed to be over during a debate on April 1, including about the "function elsewhere" note about then CDA MP Pieter Omtzigt. Kaag and Hoekstra also supported a motion of censure, along with almost the entire parliament. Shortly afterward, CU leader Gert-Jan Segers said he would not join a Cabinet with Rutte. After months of impasse, in which several parties mutually excluded each other, Kaag said she was prepared to rule again with VVD, CDA, and CU.
For the first time in parliamentary history, Prime Minister Mark Rutte's fourth Cabinet has the same number of female and male government members. In his second and third Cabinets, the male-female ratio was more balanced than before he took office. But still, roughly 60 percent were male and 40 percent female.
The average Minister in Rutte's new Cabinet is 50 years old. At 31, the new CU State secretary Maarten van Ooijen (Youth and Prevention) is one of the youngest ever.
Reporting by ANP