Ad Melkert

Last updated
Ad Melkert
PvdA - Ad Melkert2002.jpg
Ad Melkert in 2002
Extraordinary Member
of the Council of State
Assumed office
20 January 2016
Vice President Piet Hein Donner
(2016–2018)
Thom de Graaf
(from 2018)
Special Representative of the
United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq
In office
7 July 2009 1 October 2011
Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon
Preceded by Staffan de Mistura
Succeeded by Martin Kobler
Associate Administrator of the
United Nations Development Programme
In office
1 March 2006 7 July 2009
Administrator Kemal Derviş (2006–2006)
Helen Clark (2009)
Preceded by Zéphirin Diabré
Succeeded by Rebeca Grynspan
Parliamentary leader in the
House of Representatives
In office
10 July 1998 16 May 2002
Preceded by Jacques Wallage
Succeeded by Jeltje van Nieuwenhoven
Parliamentary group Labour Party
Leader of the Labour Party
In office
15 December 2001 16 May 2002
Preceded by Wim Kok
Succeeded by Wouter Bos
Minister of Social Affairs
and Employment
In office
22 August 1994 3 August 1998
Prime Minister Wim Kok
Preceded by Bert de Vries
Succeeded by Klaas de Vries
Member of the House of Representatives
In office
19 May 1998 17 October 2002
In office
3 June 1986 22 Augustus 1994
Parliamentary group Labour Party
Personal details
Born
Adrianus Petrus Wilhelmus Melkert

(1956-02-12) 12 February 1956 (age 63)
Gouda, Netherlands
Nationality Dutch
Political party Labour Party (from 1982)
Other political
affiliations
Political Party of Radicals
(1974–1981)
Spouse(s)
Mónica León Borquez
(m. 1986;div. 2013)
Children2 daughters
Residence The Hague, Netherlands
Alma mater University of Amsterdam
(Bachelor of Social Science, Master of Social Science)
Occupation Politician · Diplomat · Civil servant · Nonprofit director · Trade association executive · Sport administrator · Activist

Adrianus Petrus Wilhelmus "Ad" Melkert (Dutch:  [ˈɑt ˈmɛlkərt] ( Loudspeaker.svg listen ); born 12 February 1956) is a Dutch politician and diplomat of the Labour Party (PvdA) and nonprofit director. He is a Extraordinary Member of the Council of State since 20 January 2016 and the Chairman of the Hospitals association since 1 January 2019. He also serves as Chairman of the Supervisory board of football club ADO Den Haag since 17 February 2018.

Netherlands Constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Europe

The Netherlands is a country located mainly in Northwestern Europe. The European portion of the Netherlands consists of twelve separate provinces that border Germany to the east, Belgium to the south, and the North Sea to the northwest, with maritime borders in the North Sea with Belgium, Germany and the United Kingdom. Together with three island territories in the Caribbean Sea—Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba— it forms a constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. The official language is Dutch, but a secondary official language in the province of Friesland is West Frisian.

The Labour Party is a social-democratic political party in the Netherlands.

Council of State (Netherlands) highest court and government advisory body of the Netherlands

The Council of State is a constitutionally established advisory body in the Netherlands to the government and States General that officially consists of members of the royal family and Crown-appointed members generally having political, commercial, diplomatic or military experience. It was founded in 1531, making it one of the world's oldest still-functioning state organisations.

Contents

Melkert was elected as a Member of the House of Representatives after the election of 1986, he served in the House of Representatives from 3 June 1986 until 22 August 1994. After the election of 1994 Melkert was appointed as Minister of Social Affairs and Employment in the Cabinet Kok I, serving from 22 August 1994 until 3 August 1998. After the election of 1998 per his request he was not considered for ministerial post in the Cabinet Kok II as he wanted to focus on his candidacy to succeed Wim Kok as the next Leader of the Labour Party. Melkert returned to the Member of the House of Representatives on 19 May 1998 and became the Parliamentary leader of the Labour Party in the House of Representatives on 10 July 1998 and became the unofficial Deputy Leader of the Labour Party and the presumed de facto next Leader in all but name. After the incumbent Prime Minister and Leader of the Labour Party Wim Kok announced his retirement from national politics before the election of 2002 he endorsed Melkert as his successor. After Kok stood down on 15 December 2001, Melkert was chosen to succeed him en became the Leader of the Labour Party and Lijsttrekker (top candidate) of the Labour Party for the election of 2002.

House of Representatives (Netherlands) lower house of the Netherlands

The House of Representatives is the lower house of the bicameral parliament of the Netherlands, the States General, the other one being the Senate. It has 150 seats which are filled through elections using a party-list proportional representation. It sits in the Binnenhof in The Hague.

1986 Dutch general election

General elections were held in the Netherlands on 21 May 1986. The Christian Democratic Appeal (CDA) emerged as the largest party, winning 54 of the 150 seats in the House of Representatives.

1994 Dutch general election

General elections were held in the Netherlands on 3 May 1994. The Labour Party emerged as the largest party, winning 37 of the 150 seats in the House of Representatives. The election resulted in significant losses for both the Labour Party and the Christian Democratic Appeal. The two liberal parties, People's Party for Freedom and Democracy and Democrats 66 made large gains, whilst two pro-elderly parties and the Socialist Party all passed the electoral threshold to win seats.

Melkert and Hans Dijkstal were the front runners to become the next Prime Minister in the early stages of the campaign, but the unexpected arrival of Pim Fortuyn of Livable Netherlands (LN) and later the Pim Fortuyn List (LPF), turned the polls. Fortuyn blamed the problems in the country on the Purple cabinets (in which both Melkert and Dijkstal served as ministers) and depicted Melkert and Dijkstal as two bureaucrats who were out of touch with the voter's concerns. During the election Fortuyn accused Melkert of the demonization of his character and personal integrity. After a heated campaign Fortuyn was assassinated in Hilversum a mere nine days before polling day. The Labour Party suffered a landslide defeat in the election, losing 23 seats, Melkert was blamed for the defeat primary because of his technocratic leadership in contrast to the more charismatic Fortuyn. After Fortuyn's assassination Melkert received death threats and sequentially left national politics. He resigned as Leader and Parliamentary leader of the Labour Party in the House of Representatives on 16 May 2002 and gave up his seat in the House of Representatives on 17 October 2002.

Hans Dijkstal Dijkstal, Henri Frans

Henri Frans "Hans" Dijkstal was a Dutch politician of the People's Party for Freedom and Democracy (VVD).

Prime Minister of the Netherlands chairman of the Council of Ministers of the Netherlands

The Prime Minister of the Netherlands is the head of the executive branch of the Government of the Netherlands in his capacity as chair of the Council of Ministers. The Prime Minister is de facto the head of government of the Netherlands and coordinates its policy with his cabinet. The current Dutch Prime Minister is Mark Rutte, in office since 2010.

Pim Fortuyn Dutch politician

Wilhelmus Simon Petrus Fortuijn, known as Pim Fortuyn, was a Dutch politician, civil servant, sociologist, author and professor who formed his own party, Pim Fortuyn List in 2002.

Following his career in Dutch politics, he worked at the World Bank and the United Nations.

The World Bank is an international financial institution that provides loans to countries of the world for capital projects. It comprises two institutions: the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD), and the International Development Association (IDA). The World Bank is a component of the World Bank Group.

United Nations Intergovernmental organization

The United Nations (UN) is an intergovernmental organization that was tasked to maintain international peace and security, develop friendly relations among nations, achieve international co-operation and be a centre for harmonizing the actions of nations. The headquarters of the UN is in Manhattan, New York City, and is subject to extraterritoriality. Further main offices are situated in Geneva, Nairobi, Vienna and The Hague. The organization is financed by assessed and voluntary contributions from its member states. Its objectives include maintaining international peace and security, protecting human rights, delivering humanitarian aid, promoting sustainable development and upholding international law. The UN is the largest, most familiar, most internationally represented and most powerful intergovernmental organization in the world. In 24 October 1945, at the end of World War II, the organization was established with the aim of preventing future wars. At its founding, the UN had 51 member states; there are now 193. The UN is the successor of the ineffective League of Nations.

Biography

Early life

Adrianus Petrus Wilhelmus Melkert was born into a Roman Catholic middle-class family in Gouderak, a small village situated in the province of South Holland. His father was a barber. Melkert attended a Roman Catholic primary school in Moordrecht until 1968, after which he continued his studies at the Coornhert Gymnasium in Gouda, a state school specialising in the arts. In the final year of his secondary education, he worked for a greengrocer at the local market. Melkert graduated in 1974 and went on to study political science at the University of Amsterdam. During this period he became active within the radical left-wing Christian Political Party of Radicals (PPR) party and served as a member of the board of the youth organisation of the PPR between 1978 and 1980. He went on to become a member of the general board of the Dutch branch of the European Movement, the chairperson of the Council of European National Youth Committees and the chairperson of the Dutch Platform for International Youth Work. In 1979 he was elected into the party board of the PPR, and was 3rd candidate on the PPR's list for the 1979 European Parliament elections. He graduated in 1981 and received the Dutch Society for International Relations prize for best Master's thesis of 1981, the subject of which dealt with the foreign policy of the Den Uyl cabinet.

Catholic Church Christian church led by the Bishop of Rome

The Catholic Church, also known as the Roman Catholic Church, is the largest Christian church, with approximately 1.3 billion baptised Catholics worldwide as of 2017. As the world's "oldest continuously functioning international institution", it has played a prominent role in the history and development of Western civilisation. The church is headed by the Bishop of Rome, known as the pope. Its central administration, the Holy See, is in the Vatican City, an enclave within the city of Rome in Italy.

Gouderak Place in South Holland, Netherlands

Gouderak is a village in the Dutch province of South Holland. It is located 4 km southwest of Gouda on the river Hollandsche IJssel, in the municipality of Krimpenerwaard.

South Holland Province of the Netherlands

South Holland is a province of the Netherlands with a population of just over 3.6 million as of 2015 and a population density of about 1,300/km2 (3,400/sq mi), making it the country's most populous province and one of the world's most densely populated areas. Situated on the North Sea in the west of the Netherlands, South Holland covers an area of 3,403 km2 (1,314 sq mi), of which 585 km2 (226 sq mi) is water. It borders North Holland to the north, Utrecht and Gelderland to the east, and North Brabant and Zeeland to the south. The provincial capital is The Hague, while its largest city is Rotterdam.

In 1981 he became general secretary of the youth forum of the European Community in Brussels. In this capacity he attended an illegal youth conference in Chile, then ruled by Pinochet. Meanwhile, tensions within the PPR had escalated. Melkert was a member of the so-called, 'Blues' or 'Godebald' group of radicals, which favoured closer cooperation with the social-democrat Labour Party (PvdA) and the social-liberal Democrats 66 (D66) party. The conflict came to an end in 1981. The 'Reds', who favoured closer cooperation with the left-wing socialist Pacifist Socialist Party (PSP) party and the communist Communist Party of the Netherlands (CPN) party, and the 'Greens', who favoured an independent Green Party, joined forces. Many 'Blues', including Melkert, left the PPR for the PvdA. In 1984 he became director of international affairs at Oxfam Novib, the Dutch branch of Oxfam, and moved to The Hague. He also became a member of the board of the local PvdA branch. In 1986 he published a book on international development in the Netherlands titled: The Next Minister: Development Cooperation with the Cabinet, 1965 – 19?

Brussels Capital region of Belgium

Brussels, officially the Brussels-Capital Region, is a region of Belgium comprising 19 municipalities, including the City of Brussels, which is the capital of Belgium. The Brussels-Capital Region is located in the central portion of the country and is a part of both the French Community of Belgium and the Flemish Community, but is separate from the Flemish Region and the Walloon Region. Brussels is the most densely populated and the richest region in Belgium in terms of GDP per capita. It covers 161 km2 (62 sq mi), a relatively small area compared to the two other regions, and has a population of 1.2 million. The metropolitan area of Brussels counts over 2.1 million people, which makes it the largest in Belgium. It is also part of a large conurbation extending towards Ghent, Antwerp, Leuven and Walloon Brabant, home to over 5 million people.

Chile Republic in South America

Chile, officially the Republic of Chile, is a South American country occupying a long, narrow strip of land between the Andes to the east and the Pacific Ocean to the west. It borders Peru to the north, Bolivia to the northeast, Argentina to the east, and the Drake Passage in the far south. Chilean territory includes the Pacific islands of Juan Fernández, Salas y Gómez, Desventuradas, and Easter Island in Oceania. Chile also claims about 1,250,000 square kilometres (480,000 sq mi) of Antarctica, although all claims are suspended under the Antarctic Treaty.

Democrats 66 Dutch political party

Democrats 66 is a social-liberal political party in the Netherlands. Its name originates from the year in which it was founded.

Politics

In 1996 Melkert was elected into the House of Representatives. In the early years, he was the party's spokesperson on foreign affairs, development cooperation and environmental affairs.

After the 1989 elections he took the post of financial spokesperson of the PvdA, becoming the party's primary spokesperson in the debates on the national budget. Between 1990 and 1994 he was vice-chairman of the parliament's committee on finance.

As an MP, Melkert also participated in several boards of civil society organisations. He was a member of the board of advisers of the Foundation for Communication on Development Cooperation, chairman of the Foundation for Development Cooperation Almere-Port Sudan, and vice-chairman of the Atlantic Committee. Also, he wrote a column in the region newspaper, De Gooi- en Eemlander , that covered Hilversum and the Almere region.

In 1994 Melkert became the Minister of Social Affairs and Employment in the first cabinet of prime minister, Wim Kok. He held responsibility for one of its main goals, which, in the words of those who shaped the cabinet was: Employment, Employment, Employment. As minister, Melkert was known for his work ethic. Each Friday he would fill a postman's cart, which he had bought specifically for that purpose, with dossiers. Upon his return to work the following Monday all the dossiers would have been read. His work ethic was also noticeable in the vast amount of policies and laws he initiated during his tenure as minister.

As minister of Social Affairs he often came into conflict with the VVD's (People's Party for Freedom and Democracy) Minister of Finance, Gerrit Zalm.

Following the 1998 general elections in which Melkert was the PvdA's fifth ranking candidate, he became leader of the PvdA in parliament. He also served as chair of the parliament's committee on Information and Security Services. During his period as chairman, the party discipline tightened. The PvdA's image appeared arrogant. A conflict situation between Melkert and Rob van Gijzel, a popular PvdA MP, regarding the post of spokesperson on fraud in the construction sector, resulted in Van Gijzel leaving parliament. Despite concerns regarding Melkert's policy of marginalising and isolating the Socialist Party, he was seen as a competent politician, and was designated to succeed prime minister, Wim Kok, who officially retired as leader of the PvdA in 2001.

Special Representative of the United Nations Ad Melkert and Vice President of the United States Joe Biden during a meeting in the Roosevelt Room at the White House on 5 January 2010. Joe Biden meets Ad Melkert.jpg
Special Representative of the United Nations Ad Melkert and Vice President of the United States Joe Biden during a meeting in the Roosevelt Room at the White House on 5 January 2010.

Elections of 2002

Melkert became the PvdA's top candidate for the 2002 elections. It was widely anticipated that either he or the leader of the VVD, Hans Dijkstal, would become the next prime minister, and that the elections would revolve around the question as to whether the conservative liberal VVD or the PvdA would become the largest party.

However, the elections took an unexpected turn when Pim Fortuyn, a flamboyant populist, entered the political arena. Focusing his campaign on issues of immigration, integration and the state of the public sector, Fortuyn was intent on exposing the PvdA as being responsible for what he termed, Eight years of Purple ruin – referring to the red and blue combination of the social and liberal coalition that had governed the Netherlands during the preceding eight years. In several television debates between Melkert and Fortuyn it became apparent that Melkert was no match for Fortuyn's rather unconventional, though highly charismatic debating style. In the now infamous debate on the night when the results of the 2002 municipal elections were telecast, Fortuyn, having just won the elections in Rotterdam, made a lively, enthusiastic impression, rarely missing an opportunity to mock his opponent who appeared to sit with a degree of discomfort. The incompatibility of the two men dominated the rest of the election campaign. In a one-on-one debate during the programme, Network, their vastly different styles were once again highlighted. To every question posed by the host, Melkert responded with a detailed course of action. With regard to Fortuyn's plans, Melkert demanded 'footnotes!', implying that his opponent's contribution was unrealistic and devoid of detail. There were those who perceived this as arrogance on his part.

Steps were taken to redress the possibility of a negative, bureaucratic image and it was revealed that Melkert was an avid follower of Feyenoord football club and enjoyed culinary pursuits: a cookbook was published on his personal website. In May 2006 Melkert revealed to politician-turned-television personality, Paul Rosenmöller, that perhaps by being too entrenched in the confines of the governmental tower, his demeanour had come across as somewhat patronising: something that did not appeal to the voter.

On 6 May 2002, nine days before the election Pim Fortuyn was assassinated by a 32-year-old environmental activist. A few relatively minor riots erupted in The Hague where Melkert was at the time, urging him to make a quick departure from the city. After receiving death threats, including a loaded gun in the mail, he and his family temporarily went into hiding.

Melkert's PvdA lost nearly half its seats, decreasing from 45 to 23 in the 150 seat House of Representatives. The party fell from 1st to 4th place. Melkert resigned as political leader on election night and was replaced by former speaker of the House of Representatives, Jeltje van Nieuwenhoven. Melkert remained in parliament for a short time afterwards. His last major parliamentary debate was on the state of the European Union.

World Bank and the United Nations

In November, 2002 Melkert was appointed executive director of the World Bank. In April 2005 he was a serious candidate for the post of Administrator of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). It went, however, to the Turkish economist and politician, Kemel Dervis. In January 2006 Melkert was appointed Associate Administrator of the UNDP. In 2009 Melkert was appointed Special Representative of the Secretary-General of the United Nations in Iraq. He was a candidate to succeed Juan Somavía as Director-General of the International Labour Organization but lost to Guy Ryder. [1]

Decorations

Honours
Ribbon barHonourCountryDateComment
NLD Order of Orange-Nassau - Officer BAR.png Officer of the Order of Orange-Nassau Netherlands30 October 1998

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References

  1. (in Dutch) Melkert geen topman bij ILO, NOS, May 28, 2012
Party political offices
Preceded by
Jacques Wallage
Parliamentary leader of the
Labour Party in the
House of Representatives

1998–2002
Succeeded by
Jeltje van Nieuwenhoven
Deputy Leader of
the Labour Party

1998–2001
Succeeded by
Jeltje van Nieuwenhoven
(2002)
Preceded by
Wim Kok
1998
Lijsttrekker of the
Labour Party

2002
Succeeded by
Wouter Bos
2003
Preceded by
Wim Kok
Leader of the Labour Party
2001–2002
Succeeded by
Wouter Bos
Political offices
Preceded by
Bert de Vries
Minister of Social Affairs
and Employment

1994–1998
Succeeded by
Klaas de Vries
Diplomatic posts
Preceded by
Pieter Sterk
Executive Director of the
World Bank Group

2002–2006
Succeeded by
Herman Wijffels
Executive Director of the
International Monetary Fund

2002–2006
Preceded by
Zéphirin Diabré
Associate Administrator of the
United Nations Development Programme

2006–2009
Succeeded by
Rebeca Grynspan
Preceded by
Staffan de Mistura
Special Representative of the
United Nations Assistance
Mission for Iraq

2009–2011
Succeeded by
Martin Kobler
Business positions
Preceded by
Yvonne van Rooy
Chairman of the
Hospitals association

2019–present
Incumbent
Sporting positions
Preceded by
Hui Wang
Chairman of the Supervisory board
of ADO Den Haag

2018–present
Incumbent