Why Ministers Kaag and Bijleveld call it quits

What happened?

What do these ministers have to do with Afghanistan?

Sigrid Kaag was the demissionary Secretary of State. The Foreign Minister deals with the relationship between the Netherlands and other countries. The ministry is also responsible for Dutch and Dutch companies abroad. In this case, the ministry had to help people when the Taliban seized power in Afghanistan. Dutch people who were in Afghanistan had to be taken to the Netherlands. These were people who were traveling. But also people who worked there for the Netherlands, such as interpreters.

Bijleveld was responsible for all military personnel as minister. And so also for bringing people back because they were done by military personnel. Many interpreters and other Afghans worked for her ministry and, for example, helped the Dutch military in their mission.

Why do they step up?

According to the House of Representatives, much has not gone well around the evacuations of these people from Afghanistan. The evacuation was chaotic, according to MPs. They believe that Kaag and Bijleveld have waited too long to offer help. As a result, not everyone could be taken out of Afghanistan in time and people were at risk. The Chamber has therefore adopted a motion of censure. A motion of censure is a final warning, something like a yellow card. So that‘s lighter than a noconfidence motion. In a motion of mistrust, the Chamber calls on a minister to leave. You can compare that to a red card. In April, the House also voted by the majority in favour of a motion of censure against Rutte. He stayed at the time. Kaag then said she would resign if that happened to her.

Minister Bijleveld said yesterday that she did not want to stop and continue as minister. But in her party CDA there was a turmoil about that. Some members thought it was crazy that she stayed and Kaag left, while they both made mistakes. That is why there was crisis consultations at the party this morning. Then Bijleveld also decided that it was better to stop as well.

What about the formation?


fact that Kaag resigned as Foreign Minister doesn’t mean she stops altogether. She‘s gone as a minister. But remains the leader of D66 and thus helps to create a new cabinet. And become a minister again? That’s okay, but it‘s probably not going to happen for Foreign Affairs.

There’s still no new cabinet. Parties that have received the most votes during the election form the new government. But they need to agree with each other first to work well together. That consultation about who wants to rule with whom is called the formation.