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Balkenende IV cabinet tackles ethical issues and huge bureaucracy

Tags: Excerpts from the Windmill

THE HAGUE Newly installed Premier Jan Pieter Balkenende who presides over his fourth cabinet in five years, hopes there will be more stability around the cabinet table in the coming years. The new coalition is made up of three established parties: left-leaning Labour (PvdA), centre right Christian Democratic Appeal and junior partner ChristianUnion. The CU wanted, among other things, curbs on abortion by promoting adoption, palliative care instead of euthanasia and legal protection for marriage commissioners who for conscience sake refuse to perform same-sex marriages. The battle lines on ethical issues were quickly drawn as the Conservative Liberals saw an opportunity to test the resolve among the Labourites for these policies, which failed. The agreement to reduce the bureaucracy by roughly ten percent is noteworthy, and could provoke the unions to abandon their support for Labour. A number of departments are getting new Directors-General, with high-ranking bureaucrat Roel Bekker in charge of reorganizing the government.