Jan Peter Balkenende
Born: Biezelinge, Zeeland, Netherlands
Jan Pieter "Jan Peter" Balkenende Jr. (ˈjɑn ˈpeːtər ˈbɑlkənˌɛndə; born 7 May 1956) is a retired Dutch politician of the Christian Democratic Appeal (CDA) party and jurist who served as Prime Minister of the Netherlands from 22 July 2002 to 14 October 2010. Balkenende studied History and Law at the Free University Amsterdam obtaining Master of Arts and law degrees and worked as a legal counsel for the academic council of his alma mater before finishing his thesis and graduated as a PhD in governmental studies and worked as a professor of Christian theology at his alma mater from April 1993 until May 2002. After the election of 1998 Balkenende was elected as a Member of the House of Representatives on 19 May 1998 and served as a frontbencher and spokesperson for Finances and as deputy parliamentary leader. After Party Leader and Parliamentary leader Jaap de Hoop Scheffer stepped down before a upcoming election Balkenende announced his candidacy and was selected as his successor on 1 October 2001. For the election of 2002 Balkenende served as Lijsttrekker (top candidate) and after a cabinet formation with the Pim Fortuyn List and Liberals formed the Cabinet Balkenende I and became Prime Minister of the Netherlands taking office 22 July 2002. The cabinet Balkenende I fell just 87 days into its term. For the election of 2003 Balkenende again served as Lijsttrekker and following a cabinet formation with the two Liberal parties formed the Cabinet Balkenende II and continued as Prime Minister. This second cabinet fell on 30 June 2006 was replaced with the caretaker Cabinet Balkenende III on 7 July 2006. For the election of 2006 Balkenende once again served as Lijsttrekker and following a cabinet formation with Labour Leader Wouter Bos and fellow Christian-democrats formed the Cabinet Balkenende IV and continued as Prime Minister for another term. This fourth cabinet fell exactly 3 years into its term. For the election of 2010 Balkenende once again served as Lijsttrekker but suffered a large defeat and announced his retirement and stepped down as Leader on 9 June 2010. Balkenende left office following the installation of the Cabinet Rutte I on 14 October 2010. Balkenende retired from active politics at 54 and became active in the private sector as a corporate director and also works as a professor of Governance, Institutions and Internationalization at the Erasmus University Rotterdam since December 2010. During his premiership, his cabinets were responsible for several major reforms to the education system, immigration laws and reducing the deficit following the financial crisis of 2008. He holds the distinction as the fourth longest-serving Prime Minister after World War II and his premiership is consistently regarded both by scholars and the public to have been above average.
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