Rutte after criticism: New Secretaries of State can also remain MP

The recently sworn Secretary of State Wiersma (VVD), Van Weyenberg (D66) and Yesilgรถz (VVD) can also remain MP. That‘s what demissionary Prime Minister Rutte writes on parliamentary questions from the SP. PVV leader Wilders and SP leader Marijnissen questioned the appointments after criticism of two professors.

According to the Constitution, a Member of the House must not be State Secretary or Minister at the same time. There’s one exception to that rule. They may combine both functions in a demissionary cabinet until there is a new cabinet. According to the professors, that exception does not apply to the three, but Rutte fights that.

The Prime Minister defends the view that the exception rule applies not only to ‘old’ administrator entities who were already in the cabinet before the elections, but also to ‘new’ government entities appointed after the elections. The previously filed dismissal of the entire cabinet also applies to them, and the exception is so, says Rutte.

Rutte opposes the assertion of two legal experts that the appointments are against the intention of the Constitution. Professor of Constitutional Law Wim Voermans said on Tuesday: โ€œThe exception rule is there especially for the elections. There‘s no such rules for nothing.โ€

According to Bert van den Braak, professor of parliamentary history, the Demissionary Cabinet has tacitly stretched the constitutional rules with the three appointments. โ€œIt’s a precedent operation. Every cabinet will then be able to appoint all sorts of MPs as revisors after the election, even though that is not allowed.โ€

Prime Minister Rutte writes in the letter that good arrangements have been made to avoid โ€œdouble capsโ€ problems. For example, the Secretary of State who are also MPs do not participate in a debate as Secretary of State if anyone else in the Cabinet is speaking. They will also not make explanations of vote, act as deputy chairman of the House or participate in parliamentary delegations.