The Queen has just asked prime minister Balkenende to arrange new elections on Wednesday 9th of June. Also, there will be no new government formed to bridge the gap between now and instating a new government.
The election date is not unexpected; late May or early June was already the timeframe all parties supported. Still, for me personally it's a bummer since I will be on holiday in Venice on that day and will not be able to cover election day as much as I'd hoped.
As to forming no new government, this is one of the abstruse points of Dutch constitutional law that are very hard to explain, mostly because I myself don't quite know how it all works. For instance, I did not know that the solution the Queen chose was even possible.
If a new Balkenende V government had been formed, it would be a full-fledged government that could take politically sensitive decisions, even though only CDA and CU (a minority) supported it. Still, it could always hope to gather the necessary votes on an ad-hoc basis.
The solution that's chosen now means that the current government will remain in function, although the departments that were in the PvdA's hands will be re-divided over CDA and CU (4 for CDA and 2 for CU). Still, the government is now demissionary, which means that it may not take politically sensitive decisions; and anything that a substantial minority in parliament deems sensitive is now out of the question.
That especially goes for the pension age upgrade, the new system of road taxes (pay as you go, and not a fixed fee), and of course Uruzgan.
So now we know. Not the most exciting news ever, but this is a necessary step in the Dutch constitutional process.
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This is the political blog of Peter-Paul Koch, mobile platform strategist, consultant, and trainer, in Amsterdam. It’s a hobby blog where he follows Dutch politics for the benefit of those twelve foreigners that are interested in such matters, as well as his Dutch readers.