There needs to be a new management culture. That seems to be at least in “the impetus for a draft of a possible coalition agreement” that the political leaders of VVD and D66, Mark Rutte and Sigrid Kaag, submitted on Monday 16 August. It seems, because the piece is not made public. The possible coalition partners (PvdA/CDA/GroenLinks and ChristenUnie) have (probably) received oral information and explanations about the content of this document.
But much information about this is not provided. Not only ‘ordinary citizens’ but also many elected members of our parliament are groping in the dark.
More generally, it is unclear what the state of affairs is with regard to the formation of the cabinet. Since the end of June until last Monday, no news was released by the informant. There are now some general explanations. Or rumors about an imminent far-reaching collaboration between the groups of PvdA and GroenLinks. We also have to make do with circles of those involved in the information and a few short interviews in front of the House of Representatives.
And of course patience is a virtue and you should not disturb a brooding hen, to use a few clichés, but yes! In the context of publicity, it had graced those involved to make public ‘the impetus for a plan for a possible coalition agreement’.
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Three state secretaries were recently appointed who remained members of the House of Representatives. Professors Wim Voermans and Bert van den Braak have convincingly stated in the media that this is contrary to the text and intention of our Constitution.
Incidentally, the text of Article 57 of the Constitution is also perfectly clear to laymen. In response to parliamentary questions, the Prime Minister has indicated that the cabinet sees this differently and does not share their opinion. The government has not mentioned any substantive argument in this regard. This is not so strange, because such a substantive argument simply does not exist.
These three ministers (Van Weyenberg of D66; Yesilgöz and Wiersma, VVD) should therefore give up their membership of the House of Representatives, according to the Constitution. According to the Electoral Act, their membership of the House of Representatives has even expired by operation of law.
According to the Elections Act, the chairman of the House of Representatives must take action. It has now become known that the House of Representatives has asked the Council of State for advice on this matter. This advice may take some time. The question is which comes first: a newly appointed cabinet or the advice of the Council of State?
More practical is the question: why ask for this advice? The Constitution is clear and the relevant state secretaries can simply give up their membership of parliament. If a new cabinet is formed and there is no room for them in it, they will be able to rejoin the House of Representatives very soon.
Is it just me that the contours of a new management style are still difficult to discern to this day?
After months of discussion, the House of Representatives returned from recess last Tuesday and Wednesday to discuss the position of interpreters and other local employees of the Netherlands in Afghanistan. Richly late. Then unfortunately too late in probably a number of cases. There is talk about procedures that must be followed and papers that must be in order. Other countries seem more decisive. Fortunately (probably) a number of Dutch diplomats were able to make use of the help of Ukraine and other countries.
Also read: Wanting a new governance culture is quite different from realizing one too
In terms of content, there was an enormous haggling about whether or not to implement previously adopted motions and the content of new motions. And this while images of the current situation in Afghanistan are constantly reaching us. And unfortunately we will not see everything and the reality is probably much more gruesome.
There is rightly a lot of irritation among members of the House of Representatives. The anger of Renske Leijten (SP), among others, is if possible even greater than in the Allowance affair.
Is it just me that the contours of a new management style are still difficult to discern to this day? A new administrative culture stands and falls not only with what is formally put on paper in a new coalition agreement, but especially in the practice of public administration. Or will this new administrative culture only come into existence after a possible new coalition agreement has been concluded and so do we just have to be patient as residents of the Netherlands? At first glance, the three themes that I am discussing here seem a bit unrelated. That is not the case. Culture, including a (new) administrative culture, cannot be imposed by means of formal rules and government agreements. It’s about the attitude. After the Allowances affair, little seems to have been learned. Unfortunately. Even if, after some time, a coalition agreement is reached with beautiful sentences about a new administrative culture, this does not mean that there is a new administrative culture.