Jan Peter Balkenende

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Jan Peter Balkenende
May 7 1956
Predecessor:
Wim Kok
Prime Minister
22 July 2002
Prime Minister of the Netherlands

Dr. Jan Peter Balkenende Template:Audio (* May 7, 1956) is Prime Minister of The Netherlands since July 22, 2002.

Ltr: , ,  and Jan Peter Balkenende.
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Ltr: Silvio Berlusconi, Romano Prodi, Antnio Vitorino and Jan Peter Balkenende.

Jan Peter Balkenende (legally Jan Pieter Balkenende) began his career on the staff of the research institute of the political party Christen Democratisch Appl(CDA) and as a city councillor in Amstelveen. He later became a special professor of "Christian-Social Thinking" at the Vrije Universiteit of Amsterdam.

Balkenende first entered the Tweede Kamer (lower house) of the Netherlands Parliament on May 19, 1998, while the CDA was in opposition. He became the CDA's financial spokesman and was also involved with social affairs, justice, and internal affairs. In this role he advocated a substational reduction of the national debt and sound public finances.

He was elected chairman of the parliamentary CDA on October 1 2001 in succession to Jaap de Hoop Scheffer. On November 3 2001 he was appointed lijsttrekker (head of the list of candidates) for the CDA in the May 2002 parliamentary elections. These elections became historic when rightwing populist Pim Fortuyn was assassinated and the election campaign was halted. The result of the election restored the CDA's former position as the largest political party in the Dutch parliament.

On 4 July 2002 Queen Beatrix asked Balkenende to form a new government, in the wake of the resignation of Prime Minister Wim Kok. This cabinet is known as Balkenende I. This government (including the LPF party of slain politician Pim Fortuyn) fell after just 86 days in office because of infighting in the LPF which destabilised the government. After early elections in 2003 Balkenende formed his second cabinet Balkenende II with the conservative liberal VVD and the progressive liberal D66. Again a center-right coalition. Balkenende's policies centered around reform of the Dutch public services, reducing crime, a tough immigration policy and historically large cuts in public spending. The measures gave rise to large public anger and bad results in opinion polls for his CDA party. Nonetheless, his party remained the largest Dutch delegation in the European Parliament after the European Elections, beating the general expectation of a huge loss in parliamentary seats.

Jan Peter Balkenende and
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Jan Peter Balkenende and Jaap de Hoop Scheffer

On the first of July 2004 he took up the rotating presidency of the European Union.

Balkenende currently resides with his wife, Bianca, and his daughter Amelie in Capelle aan den IJssel. He rented an apartment in The Hague, which caused a political row since it cost the Dutch government 9,000 euro a month, whilst his prime ministerial residence was renovated. Only a few months after Balkenende took residence a fire destroyed the first floor of the house, forcing Balkenende to again look for alternative housing.

Trivia

Balkenende is noted for his strong resemblance to the fictional character Harry Potter. This makes him especially popular with young children, but is also the source of some derision. On June 4, 2005, this comparison was made by Belgian Minister of Foreign Affairs Karel De Gucht in the Flemish newspaper Het Laatste Nieuws. This caused a small diplomatic controversy, and the Belgian ambassador had to apologise to Bernard Bot, the Dutch Minister of Foreign Affairs. De Gucht stated that "Balkenende is a mix of Harry Potter and a petty rigid bourgeois mentality" (brave stijfburgerlijkheid).de:Jan Peter Balkenende et:Jan Peter Balkenende es:Jan Peter Balkenende eo:Jan Peter BALKENENDE fr:Jan Peter Balkenende gl:Jan Peter Balkenende nl:Jan Peter Balkenende no:Jan Peter Balkenende pl:Jan Peter Balkenende ro:Jan Peter Balkenende sv:Jan Peter Balkenende simple:Jan Peter Balkenende zh:揚·彼得·巴爾克嫩德

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