Constitutional Law / Droit constitutionnel
Senior Lecturer on Constitutional and Administrative Law
at Utrecht University
In 2007 a new Cabinet was formed, Balkenende IV. In May 2007 there were elections for a new Senate. Since then the Cabinet has a (small) majority in both Chambers of Dutch parliament. A lot of rumour started when a prominent member of the Dutch Liberal party, VVD, was sent away out of the Labor Group in the Second Chamber (Lower House) and the Political Party. A few reports were written on the issue of giving more tasks and more autonomy to lower governments especially municipalities. Nevertheless, all initiatives to elect the Mayor directly by the inhabitants of a municipality were withdrawn by the new Cabinet. The Cabinet was also not in favor of keeping a new Referendum on the new European Reform Treaty, the replacement for the European Constitutional Reform Treaty. In the Dutch Upper House (Senate) a discussion started on the subject of implementation of EC Law by lower legislators such as a municipality council. A few times the Netherlands was convicted for serious human rights violations in 2007. The most important cases were Salah Sheekh v. the Netherlands and Voskuil v. the Netherlands in which the European Court of Human Rights convicted the Dutch State of violating Article 3 (Salah Sheekh) and Article 10 (Voskuil) of the European Convention on Human Rights. Last but not least in National Jurisprudence a conflict has arisen on the question if the Dutch State is violating Article 7 CEDAW because it is giving a Christian fundamentalist political party, the SGP, State subsidy.