Departed ministers seldom return prematurely
With the resignations of Sigrid Kaag and Ank Bijleveld, Rutte III equals Lubbers III’s record, with ten ministers who prematurely resigned. Kaag drew her conclusions from the censure motion adopted by the House of Representatives Thursday night, stepping down as Secretary of State. As party leader, she can now fully focus on forming a new government.
Bielefeld waited a day longer, but decided to quit on Friday. However, something seems to change every week in hiring. In addition to the ten official resignations, Martin van Rijn came in temporarily, Bas van ‘t Wout is currently being replaced due to exhaustion and will not return, and there have been several portfolio redistributions.
In the past 30 years, a total of 46 ministers of state and ministers have resigned prematurely, with the exception of entire ministries that have fallen. On average, five ministers from each government did not reach the finish line. Rutte I was the only government since then where no one faltered or left prematurely, but this minority government only lasted two years.
It is not unusual for a resigned minister to return in a subsequent government. This has happened only twice since 1989. Pete Hein Donner, who resigned as Minister of Justice in 2006, became Minister of Social Affairs and Employment a year later. Ernst Hirsch Ballin resigned in 1994 after a vote of censure. In 2006 he returned to the Cabinet as Minister of Justice, replacing fellow CDA Donner.
Ministers often leave before the move
Most ministers resign for political reasons. Personal circumstances (Tamara van Ark, Bruno Bruins) or other job (Cora van Nieuwenhuizen) are less common. Those who leave because of politics usually don’t wait for a movement of blame or distrust. Robin Linschoten, for example, left in 1996 because he predicted a movement. Of the 46 ministers who left, only Hirsch Palin and Kage resigned immediately as a result of a proposal.
Also in 1994, after the departure of Hirsch Palin, a second departure followed. Ed van Thijn also decided to leave the day after the move, under pressure from the CDA. Like Ank Bielefeld, he himself did not see the proposal as a direct reason to resign, but his position became unacceptable after the departure of his colleague. All the other ministers who resigned since the 1990s did not wait for the proposal but left themselves.
In all, thirteen ministers have held other positions during their tenure since 1989. For example, Balkenende IV lost two ministers of state to mayors, and Heidi Dankona and Hanga Mai Wiggen left for the European Parliament. Among those resigning, Cora van Nieuwenhuizen is the only minister who has left her post for a commercial position.
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