Maxime Jacques Marcel Verhagen was born on September 14, 1956, is a Dutch politician of the Christian Democratic Appeal (CDA) party. He is the Minister of Foreign Affairs since February 22, 2007 and the Minister for Development Cooperation since February 23, 2010 in the Cabinet Balkenende IV. After the Dutch general election of 2010 the Christian Democratic Appeal suffered a disappointing defeat, CDA Party leader & incumbent Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende resigned the same day. Verhagen replaced him as the new Parliamentary leader for the CDA in House of Representatives.
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After becoming Minister of Foreign Affairs in the Fourth Balkenende cabinet, in 2007, he was succeeded in that position by Pieter van Geel. At the request of gay rights groups, Verhagen had demanded that the Nuncio to the Netherlands, Monsignor François Bacqué, respond to accusations that the Church opposes rights of homosexuals. He later expressed concern at the lifting of the excommunication of controversial bishop Richard Williamson, a member of the Society of Saint Pius X.
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