Wim Kok

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His Excellency
Wim Kok
Wim Kok 1994.jpg
Prime Minister of the Netherlands
In office
August 22, 1994 – July 22, 2002
MonarchBeatrix
Deputy
Preceded byRuud Lubbers
Succeeded byJan Peter Balkenende
Party leader of the Labour Party
In office
July 21, 1986 – December 15, 2001
Preceded byJoop den Uyl
Succeeded byAd Melkert
Parliamentary leader of the Labour Party in the House of Representatives
In office
May 7, 1998 – August 14, 1998
Preceded byJacques Wallage
Succeeded byJacques Wallage
Member of the House of Representatives
In office
May 19, 1998 – August 22, 1998
Parliamentary leader of the Labour Party in the House of Representatives
In office
May 4, 1994 – August 22, 1994
Preceded byThijs Wöltgens
Succeeded byJacques Wallage
Member of the House of Representatives
In office
May 17, 1994 – August 22, 1994
Deputy Prime Minister of the Netherlands
In office
November 7, 1989 – August 22, 1994
Prime MinisterRuud Lubbers
Preceded byRudolf de Korte
Succeeded byHans Dijkstal
Hans van Mierlo
Minister of Finance
In office
November 7, 1989 – August 22, 1994
Prime MinisterRuud Lubbers
Preceded byOnno Ruding
Succeeded byGerrit Zalm
Parliamentary leader of the Labour Party in the House of Representatives
In office
July 21, 1986 – November 5, 1989
Preceded byJoop den Uyl
Succeeded byThijs Wöltgens
Member of the House of Representatives
In office
June 3, 1986 – November 6, 1989
Personal details
BornWillem Kok, Jr.
(1938-09-29) September 29, 1938 (age 75)
Bergambacht, Netherlands
NationalityDutch
Political partyLabour Party
Spouse(s)Rita Roukema (m. 1965)
ChildrenAndré (born 1962)
Carla
Marcel
ResidenceAmsterdam, Netherlands
Alma materNyenrode Business Universiteit (Honorary degree)
University of Münster (Honorary degree)
OccupationPolitician
Trade Union Leader
Corporate director
Lobbyist
ReligionNon-religious (Agnosticism)
Signature
 
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His Excellency
Wim Kok
Wim Kok 1994.jpg
Prime Minister of the Netherlands
In office
August 22, 1994 – July 22, 2002
MonarchBeatrix
Deputy
Preceded byRuud Lubbers
Succeeded byJan Peter Balkenende
Party leader of the Labour Party
In office
July 21, 1986 – December 15, 2001
Preceded byJoop den Uyl
Succeeded byAd Melkert
Parliamentary leader of the Labour Party in the House of Representatives
In office
May 7, 1998 – August 14, 1998
Preceded byJacques Wallage
Succeeded byJacques Wallage
Member of the House of Representatives
In office
May 19, 1998 – August 22, 1998
Parliamentary leader of the Labour Party in the House of Representatives
In office
May 4, 1994 – August 22, 1994
Preceded byThijs Wöltgens
Succeeded byJacques Wallage
Member of the House of Representatives
In office
May 17, 1994 – August 22, 1994
Deputy Prime Minister of the Netherlands
In office
November 7, 1989 – August 22, 1994
Prime MinisterRuud Lubbers
Preceded byRudolf de Korte
Succeeded byHans Dijkstal
Hans van Mierlo
Minister of Finance
In office
November 7, 1989 – August 22, 1994
Prime MinisterRuud Lubbers
Preceded byOnno Ruding
Succeeded byGerrit Zalm
Parliamentary leader of the Labour Party in the House of Representatives
In office
July 21, 1986 – November 5, 1989
Preceded byJoop den Uyl
Succeeded byThijs Wöltgens
Member of the House of Representatives
In office
June 3, 1986 – November 6, 1989
Personal details
BornWillem Kok, Jr.
(1938-09-29) September 29, 1938 (age 75)
Bergambacht, Netherlands
NationalityDutch
Political partyLabour Party
Spouse(s)Rita Roukema (m. 1965)
ChildrenAndré (born 1962)
Carla
Marcel
ResidenceAmsterdam, Netherlands
Alma materNyenrode Business Universiteit (Honorary degree)
University of Münster (Honorary degree)
OccupationPolitician
Trade Union Leader
Corporate director
Lobbyist
ReligionNon-religious (Agnosticism)
Signature

Willem "Wim" Kok, Jr. (Dutch pronunciation: [ˈʋɪm ˈkɔk] ( )) (born September 29, 1938) is a retired Dutch politician of the Labour Party (PvdA). He served as Prime Minister of the Netherlands from August 22, 1994 until July 22, 2002.[1][2]

A trade union leader by occupation, Kok served as chairman of the Netherlands Association of Trade Unions from 1972 until 1976, when it merged to form the Federation Netherlands Labour Movement, Kok served as its first chairman from 1976 until 1986 when he left to enter politics. He was elected as a Member of the House of Representatives on June 3, 1986, after the Dutch general election of 1986. Soon after the election Joop den Uyl the Party leader of the Labour Party and Parliamentary leader of the Labour Party in the House of Representatives announced that he was stepping down after serving twenty years as Party leader of the Labour Party. Kok was elected to succeed him and became Party leader of the Labour Party and the Parliamentary leader of the Labour Party in the House of Representatives on July 21, 1986 and served as Opposition leader during the parliamentary period of the Cabinet Lubbers II. For the Dutch general election of 1989 Kok became the Lijsttrekker (top candidate) and the Labour Party lost three seats but the following cabinet formation resulted in a coalition agreement with the Christian Democratic Appeal (CDA) which formed the Cabinet Lubbers III, Kok became Deputy Prime Minister of the Netherlands and Minister of Finance, serving from November 7, 1989, until August 22, 1994.

For the Dutch general election of 1994, Kok again as Lijsttrekker lost twelve seats but the Christian Democratic Appeal with new Party Leader Elco Brinkman lost twenty seats. The Labour Party became the largest party in the House of Representatives, after an arduous cabinet formation with the People's Party for Freedom and Democracy (VVD) and the Democrats 66 (D66) a deal was struck that resulted in the Cabinet Kok I, considered groundbreaking in Dutch politics the Cabinet Kok I was the first Cabinet of the Netherlands since 1908 without a Christian democratic party. With the following Dutch general election of 1998, Kok again as Lijsttrekker won eight seats and the coalition retained its majority and a cabinet formation resulted in a continuation of the policies with a Cabinet Kok II. On December 15, 2001, Kok announced his retirement from politics and stood down as Party leader of the Labour Party that same day. Kok remain as Prime Minister of the Netherlands until the Cabinet Balkenende I was installed on July 22, 2002.

After his premiership, Kok retired from active politics at the age of sixty-three and became a lobbyist for the European Union and presided over several "high-level groups". He also occupied numerous seats on supervisory boards in the business and industry world (ING Group, Koninklijke TNT Post, Royal Dutch Shell, KLM, Stork B.V., International Commission on Missing Persons, International Crisis Group, Anne Frank Foundation). Kok was highly praised for his Third Way and Polder model philosophies and for the success of leading his Purple Coalitions. Kok during that time obtained the status of a statesman by his fellow European leaders. The Cabinet Kok I is to date the last Cabinet of the Netherlands to have completed a full term. Kok is the current president of the Club of Madrid, an organization promoting democracy and change in the global community.[3] On April 11, 2003, he was granted the honorary title of Minister of State.[4]

Early life[edit]

Wim Kok as Trade Union Leader in 1972.
Wim Kok and President of Russia Vladimir Putin in 2001.

Willem Kok, Jr. was born on September 29, 1938, in Bergambacht in the Netherlands Province of South Holland, the son of Willem Kok, Sr. (born March 29, 1910 in Bergambacht) a carpenter and Neeltje de Jager (born October 17, 1913 in Lekkerkerk). He has one younger brother born in 1945. After completing his studies in business at the Nyenrode Business Universiteit, he started his career in 1961 at the socialist Nederlands Verbond van Vakverenigingen (NVV), where he was chairman from 1973 until 1982. In 1982, the NVV merged with Nederlands Katholiek Vakverbond (NKV), the Catholic trade union, to form the Federatie Nederlandse Vakbeweging (FNV), of which he served as chair until 1986.

Political career[edit]

In 1986, Kok succeeded Joop den Uyl as leader of the social democratic Labour Party. From 1989 until 1994 he was Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance in a cabinet with the centre-right party Christian Democratic Appeal.

In 1994 Kok became Prime Minister in a cabinet with the conservative liberal People's Party for Freedom and Democracy and the social liberal party Democrats 66. This cabinet goes under the name of Cabinet Kok I. This Purple coalition was the first in decades to form a government without the Christian Democratic Appeal. After the elections in 1998 he led a second government with the same partners, Cabinet Kok II.

The main aim of the Cabinet Kok I was to create employment. The Dutch economy had been in a deep recession for years. The market should get more influence in the economy. This let to a policy of tax reduction, economizing, and trying to keep people out of the social care by supporting employment; large infrastructural projects were set in motion. Another aim was to make an end to the enormous debt of the Dutch government. The Treaty of Amsterdam was signed during this cabinet. The Srebrenica massacre occurred under the responsibility of this government, which led later to the fall of the second Kok cabinet. This was the last cabinet in recent history to serve a full term. Five of the following cabinets resigned and one was a temporary caretaker cabinet.

The second cabinet was the successor of the first cabinet was formed from the same coalition of PvdA, VVD and D66. It was also known as the tweede paarse kabinet ("second purple cabinet") called such because it contained both the social-democratic PvdA (red) and the liberal VVD (blue). The aim of the cabinet was to continue the policy of cabinet Kok I, which was concerned with economizing, tax reduction, and making an end to unemployment. Wim Kok was the prime minister, Annemarie Jorritsma as the deputy prime minister for the VVD, and Els Borst for D66. The cabinet was considered boring, because both left-wing and right-wing political parties were a part of it. There was no strong opposition in the House of Representatives. This cabinet was notable for resigning twice. The first time was in May 1999, when D66 stepped out of the coalition when proposed legislation entered by this party was blocked; through negotiations the crisis was solved and the cabinet stayed together. The second and final time was on 16 April 2002, close to the natural end of term for the cabinet, when prime minister Kok wished to resign over the report by the NIOD Institute for War, Holocaust, and Genocide Studies into the fall of Srebrenica in 1995 and the other ministers had no choice but to follow him. The Second Kok cabinet remained in place as a caretaker cabinet until 22 July 2002, when it was replaced by the first Balkenende cabinet.

During most of Kok's time as Prime Minister, the Netherlands was booming economically and Kok was credited internationally for the Dutch polder model. This same "polder model" went out of fashion early 2002, which saw the rise of Pim Fortuyn, a political newcomer. Kok's second cabinet fell just weeks before the May 2002 elections when Kok and all his ministers stepped down because of the discussion about the possible Dutch responsibility in the Srebrenica massacre.

Kok was succeeded as leader of the Labour Party by Ad Melkert, who went on to lose the Dutch general election of 2002.

After politics[edit]

Kok left Dutch politics after the election, as he had already announced the year before, but that does not mean his political life has ended. Like many whose official political careers have ended, he continues to influence politics.

After his premiership, Kok retired from active politics and became a lobbyist for the European Union. He is the current president of the Club of Madrid. This organization promotes democracy and change in the global community. Members of the club are former heads of state and government.

Lisbon Strategy[edit]

Between April and November 2004, Kok headed up a review of the Lisbon Strategy and presented a report containing suggestions on how to give new impetus to the Lisbon process. The European Commission used this report to declare that the social and environmental parts are no longer a priority and declared a return to the Lisbon Agenda under economic terms only. Kok now lobbies for the Lisbon Strategy of the European Commission and has also been appointed to the Advisory Board of the European Association of History Educators.

Personal[edit]

In 1965 Kok married his girlfriend of four years Margrietha "Rita" Roukema (born 1939). She was a young divorced mother who had two children, a son André (born 1962) who is mentally and physically handicapped, and a daughter Carla. Kok adopted her two children and a few years later they had a son Marcel.[5]

Honours and honorary appointments[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ (Dutch) Wim Kok (1938) Biografie, Absolutefacts.nl, June 4, 2010
  2. ^ (Dutch) Wim Kok: bezuiniger tegen wil en dank, Elsevier, March 29, 2012
  3. ^ (Dutch) Wim Kok voorzitter Club van Madrid, Telegraaf, November 13, 2009
  4. ^ (Dutch) Dr. W. Kok, Rijksoverheid, April 11, 2003
  5. ^ (Dutch) 'Ik zou graag opa willen worden, dat lijkt me een mooie tijdsbesteding', Opzij.nl, December 1, 1997
  6. ^ REAL DECRETO 1143/2001 - website Boletín Oficial del Estado (Spanish)

External links[edit]

Party political offices
Preceded by
Joop den Uyl
Party leader of the Labour Party
1986-2001
Succeeded by
Ad Melkert
Preceded by
Joop den Uyl
Parliamentary leader of the Labour Party
in the House of Representatives

1986-1989
Succeeded by
Thijs Wöltgens
Preceded by
Thijs Wöltgens
Parliamentary leader of the Labour Party
in the House of Representatives

1994
Succeeded by
Jacques Wallage
Preceded by
Jacques Wallage
Parliamentary leader of the Labour Party
in the House of Representatives

1998
Succeeded by
Jacques Wallage
Government offices
Preceded by
Onno Ruding
Minister of Finance
1989-1994
Succeeded by
Gerrit Zalm
Preceded by
Ruud Lubbers
Minister of General Affairs
1994-2002
Succeeded by
Jan Peter Balkenende
Political offices
Preceded by
Rudolf de Korte
Deputy Prime Minister of the Netherlands
1989-1994
Succeeded by
Hans Dijkstal
Hans van Mierlo
Preceded by
Ruud Lubbers
Prime Minister of the Netherlands
1994-2002
Succeeded by
Jan Peter Balkenende
Non-profit organization positions
Preceded by
Ricardo Lagos
President of the Club of Madrid
2009-
Succeeded by
Incumbent