Jan Peter Balkenende, is a retired Dutch politician of the Christian Democratic Appeal (CDA). He served as Prime Minister of the Netherlands from 22 July 2002 until 14 October 2010.
Balkenende, a jurist by occupation, worked for the Dutch Academic Senate and the Christian Democratic Appeal think tank from 1982 until 1998. Balkenende became a professor of Christian theology at the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam in 1993. He was elected to the House of Representatives after the Dutch general election of 1998, serving from 19 May 1998 until 22 July 2002.
After the then Leader of the Christian Democratic Appeal and Parliamentary leader in the House of Representatives Jaap de Hoop Scheffer stepped down after an internal power struggle between him and then party chair Marnix van Rij, Balkenende was selected to succeed him in both positions, and became the Lijsttrekker (top candidate) for the Dutch general election of 2002.