VVDer Johan Remkes becomes acting commissioner of the king in Limburg, or as it is called governor in that province. The government appoints him as the provisional successor to Theo Bovens. Minister Ollongren has instructed Remkes to work on restoring administrative relations in Limburg.
The entire day-to-day administration of the province resigned last week in response to a subsidy scandal surrounding CDA Herman Vrehen. He was director of a nature foundation that received tons of subsidies from the province.
Motion of no confidence
Vrehen channelled that money to companies that carried out orders for the foundation. Because the county let it happen, a motion of censure was filed, but the college held the honour to itself before it came to the vote.
The deputies left immediately last week. Governor Bovens then said that he is leaving too, but that he will stay on until a successor is appointed. Yesterday he announced that he no longer wants to stay on.
According to Bovens, it is “virtually impossible to be both the outgoing governor and the governor who simultaneously forms the College of Deputy States on his own while awaiting a new college”.
Deputy Prime Minister, Commissioner and Mayor
Remkes has a long track record in the Netherlands. Among other things, he was deputy prime minister, member of parliament and commissioner of the king in North Holland. After retirement as Commissioner, he was also acting mayor of The Hague. He was also chairman of committees that examined nitrogen problems and the parliamentary system.
Quickly new deputies
His appointment will take effect on Monday and will be valid until a new Commissioner has been appointed. Ollongren spoke today in Maastricht with Provincial States about the situation. It considers it important that the States “appoint new deputies as soon as responsibly as possible, so that the province can be managed effectively again”.
The Minister asked Remkes to play an “active, if not directing role” in the formation of a new coalition in Limburg. “The social tasks are too big and call for a full provincial administration”, is in her mission to him.
According to the minister, a business college is also possible for the new administration, with a looser connection with Provincial States. Ollongren emphasises the possibility of appointing deputies from outside politics and/ or outside the province.
The new lecture ago must be able to show a Statement of Behaviour and they are subjected to a risk analysis of integrity. “Particular attention should be paid to their previous position and any additional functions. This in view of the appearance of a conflict of interest,” writes Ollongren. She also advocates a change in the culture of governance in Limburg, “in particular the sense of integrity”. According to her, the image of the province and the reputation of public administration have been violated.