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Europe

Dutch minority government takes office

Dutch Queen Beatrix has sworn in her country's new right-wing government, the first minority coalition in the Netherlands since World War II.

Dutch Queen posing with new cabinet

Queen Beatrix presents the new Dutch government

Mark Rutte, the leader of the Dutch People's Party for Freedom and Democracy (VVD), is The Netherlands' new prime minister. It is the first time his party has held the country's top political post since 1918.

The prime minister and his cabinet ministers were sworn in on Thursday by Queen Beatrix in a private ceremony at her working palace in The Hague.

The new government has 12 cabinet ministers - six ministers each from the VVD and the Christian Democratic Appeal (CDA).

CDA politician Maxime Verhagen is to serve as deputy prime minister and finance minister. The Foreign Ministry will be led by VVD member Uri Rosenthal.

The alliance is the first minority coalition in the Netherlands since World War II. It was made possible by anti-Islam lawmaker Geert Wilders' Party for Freedom (PVV).

Wilders, currently on trial for inciting hatred and for discrimination against Muslims, has agreed to prop up the coalition in crucial votes. In return, while remaining outsdie the government, the PVV will get a say in policy formulation.

Author: Dagmar Breitenbach (AP/dpa/AFP)
Editor: Rob Turner

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