Third Balkenende cabinet
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The Third Balkenende cabinet is the current caretaker cabinet of the Netherlands. It was formed on 7 July 2006 after a crisis in and the subsequent resignation of the second Balkenende cabinet. This demissionairy minority cabinet of CDA and VVD was negotiated by former prime minister Ruud Lubbers<ref name="ft">Dutch PM to lead minority government, Financial Times, July 5, 2006</ref>. The main tasks for this interim cabinet are the preparations for the early general election on 22 November 2006 and the preparation of the 2007 budget.
Although only a minority of members of parliament was represented in the cabinet, the cabinet had full power to propose laws, each of which needs to be supported by an ad hoc majority in parliament. The constituent parties of the third Balkenende cabinet did have a majority (of one seat) in the senate.
Minority cabinets are rare in Dutch politics: the previous minority cabinet was the 1982-1983 third cabinet Van Agt.
The third Balkenende cabinet consists of 16 ministers and 7 junior ministers (staatssecretaris). These positions are divided among the coalition members according to their size in parliament: CDA supplies 9 ministers and 4 junior ministers and VVD supplies 7 ministers and 3 junior ministers. All members of this cabinet also served in the second Balkenende cabinet, except for junior minister for Education Bruno Bruins, who was scheduled to succeed former junior minister Mark Rutte, when the second Balkenende cabinet fell unexpectedly. Joop Wijn (economic affairs) and Atzo Nicolaï (governmental reform and kingdom relations) were promoted from junior minister to full minister to replace the D66 ministers in the second Balkenende cabinet<ref>Dutch news in brief, Expatica, July 5, 2006</ref>.
October 27th 2005, a fire erupted at a detention center at Schiphol airport, resulting in the death of 11 foreign nationals. From the start doubts were shed on the organisation of the involved government agencies. On the 21st September 2006 the Dutch Safety Board presented the final report on the problems in the Schiphol prison. The report explicitly stated that 'fewer or even no casualties' would have occurred if the government had upheld the legal safety standards. Based on these harsh conclusions ministers Donner (Justice), responsible for prisons, and Dekker (Housing), responsible for government buildings resigned immediately.
On 22nd September 2006 two new ministers were assigned to the posts left by Donner and Dekker. Ernst Hirsch Ballin of the CDA is the new justice minister. During the earlier third Lubbers cabinet he held the same position; from which he resigned in 1994 after the IRT-affair. The former minister of environment in the first Lubbers cabinet, Pieter Winsemius of the VVD, has replaced Dekker. <ref>Oudgedienden op Justitie en VROM (in Dutch), NOS Journaal, September 22, 2006</ref>
 Junior Ministers
 External links
de:Kabinett Balkenende III