New Dutch government to have record number of women

An unprecedented 14 of the 29 ministers and secretaries of state will be women, including 10 of the 20 ministers.

Dutch Foreign Affairs minister Sigrid Kaag, announces her resignation, after MPs voted in favor of a motion of censure against her, in The Hague, Netherlands, 16 September 2021.
Former Foreign Minister Sigrid Kaag is among the 14 women joining the new cabinet [File: Bart Maat/EPA]

A record number of women are due to make up the next Dutch government after the incoming coalition published its list of ministers and secretaries of state on Sunday.

An unprecedented 14 of the 29 ministers and secretaries of state will be women, including 10 of the 20 ministers.

The four-party coalition will be sworn in on January 10 after reaching a deal in December – a record 271 days after elections in March – handing Prime Minister Mark Rutte a fourth term in office.

Dilan Yesilgoz-Zegerius, born in Ankara, is set to become minister of justice and security. The 43-year-old, who came to the Netherlands as a girl, was nominated by the centre-right People’s Party for Freedom and Democracy (VVD), to which Rutte also belongs.

The current minister of the interior, Kajsa Ollongren, will become the new defence minister.

The Christian Democratic politician Wopke Hoekstra will be the new foreign minister.

Previous finance minister and centre-right leader Wopke Hoekstra, known for his hawkish stance on spending, will become foreign minister. Former Foreign Minister Sigrid Kaag will replace him in the exchequer brief.

The finance minister’s appointment is closely watched as the Netherlands is seen as one of the European Union’s “frugal four” member states alongside Austria, Denmark and Sweden that clash with other nations about the EU’s budget.

An Arabic-speaking former diplomat, Kaag is the rare example of a Dutch politician who used to be known better abroad than at home.

She served as United Nations special coordinator for Lebanon in 2015-2017, and before that headed a UN team overseeing the destruction of Syria’s chemical weapons.

Ernst Kuipers, who was responsible for moving coronavirus patients around the country, will replace Hugo de Jonge as health minister.

The parties have agreed to invest billions in the fight against climate change, and to reform housing and social policy.

Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies