Published On: Fri, Aug 10th, 2012

Hanze: It’s possible to dismiss outgoing cabinet

WILLEMSTAD — It is most certainly possible to dismiss an outgoing minister or even an entire outgoing cabinet, said Frank Hanze, jurist and former registrar of the Parliament of the Netherlands Antilles. With this statement Hanze refutes the contents of the letter that Premier Gerrit Schotte (MFK) sent to the Parliament. According to Schotte, it would be ‘meaningless’ to adopt a motion of no-confidence against an outgoing minister. Hanze “Therefore, it’s possible. The Parliament may well be dissolved but that becomes effective on November 2nd this year. The date of dissolution was determined on this day to prevent the governor from appointing a person charged with forming a new cabinet. At this moment the Parliament still has all its rights and obligations, and can call a minister to the Parliament to account and subsequently dismiss this minister”, Hanze said this morning "disagrees". In the letter of August 6th Schotte elaborates on the intention of the opposition factions that currently have a majority in the Parliament, to dismiss the government through a motion of no-confidence. According the premier, there’s little point to this because the ministers already handed in their resignation to the governor for consideration. However, according to Hanze, there’s a flaw in the premier’s argumentation. The premier points out there are sufficient literature on this issue and that the Dutch Lower Chamber forced two outgoing ministers (Ernst Hirsch Ballin and Ed van Thijn, (editorial office)) to resign in 2004.

In this respect, Hanze also referred to the recent change in power on St. Maarten when the coalition of DP and UP had to make room for a coalition consisting of the DP, National Alliance and independent parliamentarians. “The government had handed in its resignation but the Parliament wasn’t dissolved nor was new elections ordered. The possibility for a new formation process arose, and the new coalition was formed.” Hanse added that it was known in advance which parties would be in the coalition.

Schotte’s proposition that dismissing the government with a motion of no-confidence would lead to a power vacuum isn’t correct either, according to Hanze. “When a minister hands in his/her resignation the governor always asks if he/she will stay on until their successor is installed. That could also be the case here. It could be for a period of maximum three weeks or as long as the screening of the minister takes.”

One thing is clear though, according to the former registrar of the Parliament. The new interim government that is installed after the dismissal of the current government cannot change the date of the elections. “This interim government will have a limited mandate and will have to supervise the situation until the announced elections of October 19th.”

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