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Sunday 26 October  

Queen Beatrix had doubts about Donner

Published on 18 December 2011 - 6:28pm
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Reservations Queen Beatrix had regarding Dutch Interior Minister Piet Hein Donner’s candidacy as the next Vice-President of the Council of State, the country’s highest administrative court, delayed his appointment and may have damaged his standing, newspaper NRC Handelsblad reports.

Before approving Mr Donner’s nomination, the Queen first questioned Mr Donner about his role during the formation of the current minority coalition, propped up by Geert Wilders’ Freedom Party, the paper writes in a reconstruction of the controversial appointment procedure. Mr Donner’s appointment, effective as of 1 February 2012, was officially announced on Friday after the weekly cabinet meeting.

In its reconstruction, the paper quotes several sources in the conservative VVD party and the Christian Democrats, which make up the minority coalition. Mr Donner, himself a Christian Democrat, is said to have put pressure on a number of Christian Democrat MPs to give their approval to the coalition’s cooperation agreement with Mr Wilders.

This would have violated the right the Dutch constitution gives MPs to vote with absolute independence, irrespective of any party allegiance. Queen Beatrix only gave her approval to Mr Donner’s nomination, the paper claims, after the two discussed the matter during a ten-day state visit to the Caribbean islands of the former Netherlands Antilles in October.

As a result of the alleged reservations on the part of the Queen, the official advertisement for the Council of State vacancy was published much later than the date Prime Minister Mark Rutte had initially announced. The advertisement, originally due to in September, was ultimately delayed until mid-October. The subsequent procedure, too, suffered unexpected delays.

The delays prompted widespread criticism, both in political circles and the media, regarding both the procedure and Mr Donner himself, who was from the outset widely rumoured to be the favourite candidate. Since then, two of the rejected candidates have filed asked the National Ombudsman to launch an inquiry into the procedure.

(cl/tt/tf)

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