The popularity ratings of Defence Minister Hans Hillen, Foreign Minister Uri Rosenthal and Education Minister Marja van Bijsterveldt have in recent months fallen sharply, a weekly survey shows.
Over the past four months, Defence Minister Hillen, a Christian Democrat, has suffered the worst drop in popularity, from -4 to -23 percent, leaving him at the very bottom of the list. Foreign Minister Rosenthal and Education Minister Van Bijsterveldt, of the liberal VVD party, saw their ratings tumble from -5 to -19 percent.
The defence minister has recently been accused of misinforming parliament regarding financial misconduct at a navy yard. The defence and foreign ministries have also faced sharp criticism over the botched evacuation mission in Libya, during which three Dutch soldiers were captured. In addition, Foreign Minister Rosenthal has come under fire for not doing enough to try and stop the execution of Zahra Bahrami, a Dutch-Iranian woman hanged in Iran in late January.
In contrast, Prime Minister Mark Rutte (VVD) and Finance Minister Jan Kees de Jager (CDA), remain very popular. The PM scored +47 percent, down from +48 percent, while Mr De Jager got +38 percent, up from +36 percent.
VVD and CDA voters, the survey reveals, are satisfied with the government. But nearly half of those who vote for Geert Wilders' anti-Islam Freedom Party (PVV), which backs the minority government in parliament, are critical of the government. Christian Democrat Interior Minister Piet Hein Donner is particularly unpopular among PVV voters, who rate him at -25 percent.
© Radio Netherlands Worldwide