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Monday, 22 July, 2002, 15:20 GMT 16:20 UK
Dutch centre-right takes office
Herman Heinsbroek and Hilbrand Nawijn, with Maria van der Hoeven (rear)
New wave: LPF ministers Herman Heinsbroek and Hilbrand Nawijn (Picture:AFP)
A new centre-right coalition government has been sworn into office in the Netherlands, including the party whose populist, anti-immigration leader, Pim Fortuyn, was murdered just before the elections in May.


Chills ran down our spines when we looked at the new government's plans

Lodewijk de Waal, FNV union
The Pim Fortuyn List party (LPF) holds four out of 13 ministerial posts, including the new Ministry for Asylum Policy and Immigration.

The prime minister is Jan Peter Balkenende of the Christian Democratic Party (CDA), which has five other ministers in government.

Foreign Minister Jaap de Hoop Scheffer
Foreign Minister Jaap de Hoop Scheffer
The BBC's Geraldine Coughlan in The Hague says bets are already being placed on how long the new government will last - as only three of the 27 ministers and secretaries of state have previous cabinet experience.

Trade unions have also warned that they will not sit idly by as the government shifts to the right.

"Chills ran down our spines when we looked at the new government's plans," said the chairman of the country's largest labour union, Lodewijk de Waal.

Danish model

He said unions would negotiate with the government, but would prepare demonstrations, publicity campaigns and possibly strikes.

Ministers
Foreign Affairs: Jaap de Hoop Scheffer (CDA)
Justice: Piet Hein Donner (CDA)
Interior: Johan Remkes (VVD)
Economy: Herman Heinsbroek (LPF)
Defence: Benk Korthals (VVD)
Social Affairs: Aart Jan de Geus (CDA)
Agriculture: Kees Veerman (CDA)
Education: Maria van der Hoeven (CDA)
Health: Eduard Bomhoff (LPF)
Transport and Water: Rolf de Boer (LPF)
Immigration: Hilbrand Nawijn (LPF)
Housing: Henk Kamp (VVD)
They are unhappy about plans to cut disability benefits and tax-friendly saving schemes, and levels of investment in health care and education that they consider to be insufficient.

The LPF Minister for Asylum Policy and Immigration, Hilbrand Nawijn, has been open in his admiration for Denmark's recent crackdown on asylum seekers.

His post, within the Justice Ministry, replaces the previous post of integration minister within the Home Affairs Ministry - a shift which critics claim brings the issue of integration in the sphere of criminal justice.

The LPF's other ministers include Economics Minister Herman Heinsbroek - a record company boss who has said he will not tolerate long parliamentary sessions - and Health Minister Eduard Bomhoff - a professor who has already criticised the coalition's plans on health care.

One of the first Dutch cabinet member from born outside the country - Surinam-born Philomena Bijlhout, who becomes Secretary of State for Families and Emancipation - is also from the LPF.

One woman

There is just one woman minister, Christian Democrat Maria van der Hoeven, who holds the education portfolio.


There is a potential lack of stability, both in the LPF and the VVD

Wim Kok
The new foreign minister, Jaap de Hoop Scheffer, is also from the CDA.

Among those questioning how long the government would last was outgoing Prime Minister Wim Kok, of the Labour Party.

He said in his last television interview that both the LPF and the third coalition member, the free-market VVD, showed a "potential lack of stability".

The LPF was set up in February but shot to success in the May election, taking second place and 26 seats.

Apart from the trade unions, civil servants are also planning a protest against the new cabinet.

They say the proposed 90% cuts in the budget for centres for asylum seekers are a violation of human rights.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
The BBC's Geraldine Coughlan
"This new party has already slipped sharply in the opinion polls"

Key stories

Background

Fortuyn shooting

FACTFILE

FORUM

TALKING POINT
See also:

04 Jul 02 | Europe
16 May 02 | Europe
16 May 02 | Europe
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