Prime Minister of the Netherlands

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Prime Minister of the Netherlands
Minister-president van Nederland
State Coat of Arms of the Netherlands.svg
State Coat of Arms of the Kingdom of the Netherlands
Mark Rutte 2015 (1) (cropped).jpg
Incumbent
Mark Rutte

since 14 October 2010
Ministry of General Affairs
Style His Excellency
Member of Council of Ministers
European Council
Residence Catshuis, The Hague, Netherlands
Seat Torentje, The Hague, Netherlands
Appointer Willem-Alexander
as King of the Netherlands
Term length 4 years
No term limit
Formation25 March 1848;171 years ago (1848-03-25)
as Chairman of the Council of Ministers
24 June 1945
as Minister-President
First holder Gerrit Schimmelpenninck
as Chairman of the Council of Ministers
Wim Schermerhorn
as Minister-President
Deputy Deputy Prime Minister
Salary€144,000 (incl. €7,887.24 expenses)
Website Ministry of General Affairs

The Prime Minister of the Netherlands (Dutch : Minister-president van Nederland) is the head of the executive branch of the Government of the Netherlands in his capacity as chair of the Council of Ministers. [1] [2] [3] 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.

Dutch language West Germanic language

Dutch(Nederlands ) is a West Germanic language spoken by around 24 million people as a first language and 5 million people as a second language, constituting the majority of people in the Netherlands and Belgium. It is the third-most-widely spoken Germanic language, after its close relatives English and German.

Council of Ministers (Netherlands) executive council of Dutch government, formed by all the ministers

The Council of Ministers is the executive council of Dutch government, formed by all the ministers including the Deputy Prime Ministers. This executive council initiates laws and policy. The Council of Ministers is distinct from the cabinet which also includes state secretaries. State secretaries do not attend the Council of Ministers unless they are requested to do so and they do not have voting rights.

The head of government is either the highest or second highest official in the executive branch of a sovereign state, a federated state, or a self-governing colony, who often presides over a cabinet, a group of ministers or secretaries who lead executive departments. "Head of government" is often differentiated from "head of state", as they may be separate positions, individuals, or roles depending on the country.

Contents

Role

Although the Prime Minister is the leading political figure in the Netherlands, he is not as powerful as the British Prime Minister and the German Chancellor. This is mainly because, historically, all Dutch ministers used to be responsible to the Monarch; ministers took turns to fill the position of Prime Minister, and in the role had little if any control over the other ministers. The Prime Minister's role gained importance when ministers became responsible to the parliament, and the position became mostly reserved for the leader of the biggest political party in the House of Representatives. Still, because the position holds limited powers compared to its equivalent in other neighboring parliamentary democracies, the Prime Minister role is described as primus inter pares ("first among equals"). [3]

Prime Minister of the United Kingdom Head of UK Government

The Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, until 1801 known as the Prime Minister of Great Britain, is the head of government of the United Kingdom. The Prime Minister directs both the executive and the legislature, and together with their Cabinet are collectively accountable for their policies and actions to the Monarch, to Parliament, to their political party and ultimately to the electorate. The office of Prime Minister is one of the Great Offices of State. The current holder of the office, Theresa May, leader of the Conservative Party, was appointed by the Queen on 13 July 2016.

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.

Primus inter pares is a Latin phrase meaning first among equals. It is typically used as an honorary title for someone who is formally equal to other members of their group but is accorded unofficial respect, traditionally owing to their seniority in office. Historically, the princeps senatus of the Roman Senate was such a figure and initially bore only the distinction that he was allowed to speak first during debate. Also, Constantine the Great was given the role of primus inter pares. However, the term is also often used ironically or self-deprecatingly by leaders with much higher status as a form of respect, camaraderie, or propaganda. After the fall of the Republic, Roman emperors initially referred to themselves only as princeps despite having power of life and death over their "fellow citizens". Various modern figures such as the Chair of the United States Federal Reserve System, the prime minister of parliamentary countries, the Federal President of Switzerland, the Chief Justice of the United States, the Chief Justice of the Philippines, the Archbishop of Canterbury of the Anglican Communion and the Ecumenical Patriarch of the Eastern Orthodox Church fall under both senses: bearing higher status and various additional powers while remaining still merely equal to their peers in important senses.

Following the constitutional review of 1983, the position of Prime Minister was formalized in the Dutch Constitution for the first time. [4] According to the Constitution of the Netherlands, the Government is constituted by the King and the ministers. [5] The Constitution stipulates that the Prime Minister chairs the Council of Ministers (article 45) and is appointed by royal decree (article 43). The royal decree of their own appointment and those of the other ministers are to be countersigned by the Prime Minister (article 48). The Council of Ministers is no longer nowadays attended by the King.

Constitution of the Netherlands Constitution of the Kingdom of the Netherlands

The Constitution for the Kingdom of the Netherlands is one of two fundamental documents governing the Kingdom of the Netherlands as well as the fundamental law of the European territory of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. It is generally seen as directly derived from the one issued in 1815, constituting a constitutional monarchy; it is the third oldest constitution still in use worldwide.

The Hague's Binnenhof. The Ministry of General Affairs is in the centre, with on the centre left a hexagonal tower, named Het Torentje, which is the office of the Prime Minister. Binnenhof3.jpg
The Hague's Binnenhof. The Ministry of General Affairs is in the centre, with on the centre left a hexagonal tower, named Het Torentje , which is the office of the Prime Minister.

The Prime Minister chairs the weekly meetings of the Council of Ministers and has the power to set the agenda of these meetings. The prime minister is also Minister of General Affairs (Minister van Algemene Zaken), which takes an important role in coordinating policy and is responsible for the Government Information Service (Dutch: Rijksvoorlichtingsdienst). The Prime Minister is also responsible for the royal house and has a weekly meeting with the King on government policy. Informally the Prime Minister functions as the "face" of the cabinet to the public. After the meetings of the cabinet on Friday, the Prime Minister hosts a press conference on the decisions of the cabinet and current affairs. The Prime Minister also has some functions in international affairs, attending the European Council every six months and maintaining bilateral contacts. The Prime Minister's office is a hexagon shaped tower, named "The Little Tower" (Torentje), in the Binnenhof in The Hague. The official residence (which is only used for official functions) is the Catshuis; the last Prime Minister to live in the Catshuis was Dries van Agt. Incumbent Mark Rutte lives in a flat downtown The Hague. The Prime Minister has no security detail. [6]

Ministry of General Affairs Dutch ministry

The Ministry of General Affairs is the Dutch Ministry responsible for Government policy, Planning, Information and the Dutch royal house. The Ministry was created in 1937 and dissolved in 1945, but in 1947 it was reinstated by then Prime Minister Louis Beel. The Ministry remained small until 1967, when it was greatly expanded by then Prime Minister Piet de Jong. Since his premiership the Ministry has continued to expand to the present day. The Minister of General Affairs is the head of the Ministry who is also Prime Minister and a member of the Cabinet of the Netherlands. The current Minister and Prime Minister is Mark Rutte.

Monarchy of the Netherlands Wikimedia list article

The monarchy of the Netherlands is constitutional and, as such, the role and position of the monarch are defined and limited by the Constitution of the Netherlands. Consequently, a fairly large portion of the Dutch Constitution is devoted to the monarch; roughly a third of the document describes the succession, mechanisms of accession and abdication to the throne, the roles and responsibilities of the monarch and the formalities of communication between the Staten-Generaal and the role of the monarch in the creation of laws.

European Council institution of the European Union

The European Council is a collective body that defines the European Union's overall political direction and priorities. It comprises the heads of state or government of the EU member states, along with the President of the European Council and the President of the European Commission. The High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy also takes part in its meetings. Established as an informal summit in 1975, the European Council was formalised as an institution in 2009 upon the entry into force of the Treaty of Lisbon. Its current president is Donald Tusk, former Prime Minister of Poland.

Although the Prime Minister is almost always the political leader of his party and a member of the House of Representatives, he is required to give up his seat for the duration of his tenure, as Dutch ministers are not allowed to be members of parliament.

Appointment

The Dutch electoral system makes it all but impossible for one party to win an outright majority in the House of Representatives; no party has done so since 1900. Hence, Dutch governments are always coalitions between two or more parties. After each election, the House appoints a "scout" to seek advice on how to interpret the election results. On the basis of this advice, the House appoints an informateur to check on prospective coalitions and lead negotiations between potential partners. If successful, the House then appoints a formateur, who concludes the talks between the members of the prospective coalition. The formateur is almost always the leader of the largest party in the prospective coalition, and thus de facto Prime Minister-designate. Prior to 2012, the monarch had a considerable role in these talks, but reforms in 2012 largely eliminated royal influence on the process.

A formateur is a politician who is appointed to lead the formation of a coalition government, after either a general election or the collapse of a previous government. The role of the formateur is especially important in the politics of Belgium, the Netherlands, Luxembourg, Italy, Israel and the Czech Republic. These countries have a parliamentary system, where the executive is elected by the legislature. They also use proportional representation for elections to parliament, and have a multiparty system that makes it improbable for one party to win an outright majority. There may be several combinations of parties which might form a coalition. The Formateur is traditionally appointed by the head of state but in the Netherlands that became the right of the Speaker of the Lower house in the early 21st century.

It usually takes several months of negotiations before a formateur is ready to accept a formal royal invitation to form a government. The monarch then appoints the ministers and state secretaries (junior ministers), who then resign their seats in the House.

A minister from the smaller coalition party usually becomes Deputy Prime Minister of the Netherlands. If there is a third or fourth party in the coalition, each has the right to name one of its ministers second and third Deputy Prime Minister. [7]

Deputy Prime Minister of the Netherlands

The Vice Minister-President of the Netherlands, commonly referred to in English as the Deputy Prime Minister, is the official deputy of the head of government of the Netherlands. In the absence of the Prime Minister of the Netherlands the Deputy Prime Minister takes over his functions, such as chairing the Cabinet of the Netherlands and the Council of Ministers of the Netherlands. Conventionally, all of the junior partners in the coalition get one deputy, and the deputies are ranked according to the size of their respective parties. The incumbent Deputy Prime Ministers are Hugo de Jonge, Kajsa Ollongren and Carola Schouten (ChristianUnion).

History

State coat of arms of the Netherlands.svg
This article is part of a series on the
politics and government of
the Netherlands
Flag of the Netherlands.svg Netherlandsportal

For a list of historic Prime Ministers, see List of Prime Ministers of the Netherlands.For a list of Prime Ministers by age, see List of Prime Ministers of the Netherlands by age.For a list of Prime Ministers by religious affiliations, see Religious affiliations of Prime Ministers of the Netherlands.

Gradually the Prime Minister became an official function of government leader, taken by the political leader of the largest party. Since 1848 the role of the first minister has become relevant. In that year the Constitution of the Netherlands was amended to make ministers responsible to the States General rather than – as hitherto – being responsible to the King, who acted as the leader of cabinet. Until 1901 the position chair of the Council of Ministers officially rotated between ministers. Between 1901 and 1945 the position formally still rotated but prominent politicians were able to claim a rotation period of four years.

In 1937 a separate Ministry of General Affairs was instituted which was informally linked to the Prime Minister. Barend Biesheuvel (1971–1973) was the last Prime Minister who was not the political leader of the largest party in cabinet, but actually of the third largest. In 1983 the function of Prime Minister was laid down in the constitution.

The position of the Prime Minister has been enforced by the creation of the European Council. [8] In November 2006, the rules of procedure of the council of ministers was changed to allow the Prime Minister to put any item on the agenda of the council, whereas before he had to wait for a minister to take the initiative. [9] A change of the rules of procedure of the cabinet in July 2008 allowed the Prime Minister to direct other ministers on the costs of the Royal House, which are covered by several ministries. [10]

Living Prime Ministers

As of October 2018, there are three Prime Ministers of the Netherlands currently living, the oldest being Dries van Agt. The most recent former Prime Minister to die was Wim Kok who served 1994–2002 and died on 20 October 2018 at the age of 80 years, 21 days.

Living Prime Ministers of the Netherlands at a lunch organised by the incumbent Mark Rutte on 5 July 2011. From left to right: Wim Kok, Dries van Agt, Piet de Jong, Mark Rutte, Ruud Lubbers and Jan Peter Balkenende. Kok VanAgt DeJong Rutte Lubbers Balkenende (2).jpg
Living Prime Ministers of the Netherlands at a lunch organised by the incumbent Mark Rutte on 5 July 2011. From left to right: Wim Kok, Dries van Agt, Piet de Jong, Mark Rutte, Ruud Lubbers and Jan Peter Balkenende.

Countries of the Kingdom of the Netherlands

The Prime Minister is also Chairman of the Council of Ministers of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, and therefore also deals with matters affecting the other countries Aruba, Curaçao, and Sint Maarten in the Kingdom. The independent cabinets of Aruba, Curaçao, and Sint Maarten also have their own prime ministers: Evelyn Wever-Croes (Prime Minister of Aruba), Eugene Rhuggenaath (Prime Minister of Curaçao), and Leona Marlin-Romeo (Prime Minister of Sint Maarten). The Council of Ministers of the Kingdom of the Netherlands includes Minister Plenipotentiary from the other countries of the Kingdom. These are not included in the government of the Kingdom.

Deputies

The King appoints Deputy Prime Ministers. Conventionally, all of the junior partners in the coalition get one Deputy Prime Minister; they are ranked according to the size of their respective parties. The senior deputy present chairs the cabinet meeting when the Prime minister is not present. In the current Third Rutte cabinet, Hugo de Jonge chairs those meetings as first Deputy Prime Minister of the Netherlands, with the other deputies being Kajsa Ollongren and Carola Schouten. The oldest member of the cabinet chairs the meeting when the Prime Minister and all deputies are absent.

See also

Notes

  1. Grondwet voor het Koninkrijk der Nederlanden [Constitution of the Kingdom of the Netherlands], article 45 section 2.
  2. Van der Pot, C.W., Donner, A.M.: Handboek van het Nederlandse staatsrecht [Handbook of Dutch Constitutional Law], page 344-345. Zwolle: W.E.J. Tjeenk Willink, 1983.
  3. 1 2 "Minister-president – Parlement & Politiek". Parlement.com. 21 March 2002. Retrieved 23 April 2012.
  4. Van der Pot, 344.
  5. Grondwet voor het Koninkrijk der Nederlanden, article 42, section 1: "De regering wordt gevormd door de Koning en de ministers."
  6. 'Heeft Rutte dan green bodyguards nodding?, ad.nl (in Dutch), 29-07-11.
  7. "(In)formateur en kabinetsformatie – Parlement & Politiek". Parlement.com. Retrieved 26 January 2013.
  8. Van der Pot, 345
  9. Van Middelaar, Luuk: De passage naar Europa. Geschiedenis van een begin [The Passage to Europe. History of A Beginning], page 409. Groningen: Historische Uitgeverij 2009.
  10. ”Balkenende rotzooit met staatsrecht”, NRC Handelsblad, 10 July 2008.

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