September 23, 2018

UN peacekeeping mission debate results in resignation Minister of Defence

By Anton Lutter.

Minister of Defence Mrs. Jeannine Hennis-Plasschaert (VVD) entered the parliamentary debate Tuesday afternoon in a relaxed way.

This weekend she already had decided to resign after the devastating report of the Dutch Safetyboard, her position being untenable after coalition-partner deputy-prime minister Lodewijk Asscher (PVDA) found “plenty of reasons for her to step down”.

The Safety board was called into action after an incident which occurred the 6th of July 2016 whereby two soldiers were killed and one severely injured by a deficient mortar during the UN mission in Mali. The harsh report concluded “grave shortcomings of the organisation” with “munition safety and medical provisions becoming subordinate to continuation of the mission”.

Mrs. Hennis didn’t took the easy way out, she answered a barrage of critical questions from members of parliament. But after a five hour debate she announced her resignation. Future government coalition partners of the VVD being CDA, D’66 and CU were also critical during questioning obviously not apt in saving her political career.

Minister Hennis-Plasschaert, was Diplomat Magazine’s cover page in November 2015.

After the debate she mentioned that “when I read the rapport, I already knew” (to step down). Shortly afterwards the commander of the armed forces general Tom Middendorp resigned, two days before his honorable discharge from the army.

Mrs. Hennis – the number 2 person of the VVD in the last parliamentary elections and a confidant of Prime Minister Mark Rutte – was mentioned as the possible next Minister of Foreign Affairs, now unlikely considering the Dutch military missions abroad are highly relevant to Foreign Affairs policy.

Under minister (staatssecretaris) for Security Justice Mr. Klaas Dijkhoff has been sworn in as Minister of Defence this morning, which office he will probably be taken up for just a few weeks. His last legislative action a law that would made it almost impossible for Dutch expats to bring their foreign spouse to The Netherlands was rejected by the senate (Eerste Kamer) at the same day his predecessor resigned.



Comments are closed.