Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte wants to leave politics after the government collapsed. In a new election, he would no longer be available as a candidate for his right-wing liberal party VVD for a fifth term and would withdraw from politics, Rutte said on Monday in parliament in The Hague. The fourth government of right-liberal Prime Minister Mark Rutte has been in office since early 2022. Rutte himself has been Prime Minister of the Netherlands for almost 13 years.
Coalition broke up in dispute over migration policy
The previous four-party coalition broke up on Friday evening in the dispute over migration policy. The sticking point at the crisis meeting that led to the collapse of the government was a restriction on the family reunification of refugees who are already in the country. Rutte’s right-wing liberal party VVD had called for the restriction. For other parties, the demand went too far.
Rutte speaks of a personal decision
Rutte announced his withdrawal at the start of a parliamentary debate on the situation after the government collapsed, saying it was a personal decision, independent of the current situation. “This debate must be about our country,” he said before the start of the meeting, at which the opposition, among other things, wanted to table a motion of no confidence in the prime minister.
The date of the new elections has not yet been set
The date of a new election has not yet been set. This will probably take place in November. It is expected that King Willem-Alexander will announce the election date shortly.
Until then, standstill could dominate the work of the incumbent government, as many fear. In addition to migration policy, people in the Netherlands are also concerned about the housing shortage, the energy transition and climate policy. One of the major conflicts is the future of agriculture in view of announced environmental regulations. It is still completely open who will be the favorite to succeed Rutte at VVD or in one of the other parties.
The Dutch have long seen Rutte as a good crisis manager
At almost 13 years as Prime Minister of the Netherlands, Rutte was one of the longest-serving heads of government in the EU. But in his own country he is no longer unchallenged after numerous affairs and most recently he was accused, above all by supporters of his People’s Party for Freedom and Democracy (VVD), of having left the right-wing course of his party. His big adversary, the right-wing populist Geert Wilders, accused him of giving in, especially when it came to climate and asylum policy. For a long time, however, many Dutch people saw Rutte as a good crisis manager, someone who held the shop together.