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Premier Balkenende sets resignation record

Tags: Excerpts from the Windmill

UTRECHT Former Dutch Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende has set a new record over all his predecessors: he took the resignations of the highest number of ministers in the period between 1946 and 2009. Up to now, 107 ministers vacated their posts prematurely, ten of them while Balkenende was premier. The high number has partially been attributed to Balkenende's volatile coalition partner List Pim Fortuijn (LPF) which saw much infighting and forced embattled ministers out of office. One LPF junior minister only lasted seven hours in office before offering her resignation. Two others, one CDA and one VVD, resigned following heavy criticism in the Second Chamber, one lost the confidence of her PvdA party while a fourth, from the CDA, resigned over an extra marital affair. A political science lecturer says that the position of ministers in certain portfolios is more risky than others, notably Defense and Justice, while Transportation, which also takes care of dikes, is less controversial. Everyone wants to have top-level dikes, noted Professor Mark Bovens.