September 20, 2021

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Becoming a Minister of State in a Caretaker Government: Is It Allowed?

Becoming a Minister of State in a Caretaker Government: Is It Allowed?

What about that? Due to an exception rule, ministers from the “old” government, such as outgoing Prime Minister Rutte himself, may be members of Parliament at the same time. This applies as long as the configuration continues.

This rule has been around for decades and is mainly for practical reasons: Members of Parliament who have resigned must be able to participate in the new elections as Members of Parliament.

But constitutional experts say that in the case of the appointments of Wirsema, Weinberg and Weseljus Zegerios, an unconstitutional situation has arisen. The three ministers were not members of the resigned government before the elections. The rule of exception, which applies to placeholders Rutte and Kaag, for example, is not intended for them.

In other words: according to experts, the Council of Ministers acted in violation of the provisions of the Constitution. “The rule of exception exists, especially with regard to elections,” says constitutional law professor Wim Furmans. “But such rules exist for a reason.”.

tacitly extending constitutional rules

According to Bert van den Brack, a professor of parliamentary history, the outgoing government has implicitly expanded the constitutional bases with the three appointments. And that, he says, is not good for the government’s credibility. “We as citizens have to comply with all kinds of laws. This also applies to the cabinet,” says van den Brack.

Also sees another problem. “It is a precedent. Each cabinet can then appoint all kinds of deputies as ministers after the elections when this is not allowed,” he added.

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The big question now is whether the interim government and interim Prime Minister Rutte have knowingly acted against the provisions of the constitution. For example, has legal advice been sought from the State Council? Or does the government think that the rule of exception applies here? Inquiries with the Government Information Service did not lead to an answer today.