Balkenende, Jan Peter

views updated

Jan Peter Balkenende (yän pāətûr bäl´kənĕndə), 1956–, Dutch political leader, prime minister of the Netherlands (2002–10), b. Kapelle. He attended the Free Univ. of Amsterdam, earning a doctorate in law in 1991. A member of the Christian Democratic Appeal (CDA), he was elected to the Dutch parliament in 1998 and became head of the CDA in 2001. Since 2002 he has headed several center-right coalition governments, which have cut welfare benefits, increased competition in health care, and experienced turmoil over immigration reform. Disagreement over extending the deployment of Dutch troops led to the collapse of his government in Feb., 2010, and after the CDA suffered large losses in the June elections he resigned as party leader.