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Netherlands. Prime Minister Mark Rutte announced his retirement from politics

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Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte, who resigned his government at the end of last week, announced on Monday that he would not be the leader of his People’s Party for Freedom and Democracy (VVD) and would not run for office again in the early parliamentary elections in the fall. “Teflon Mark”, as Rutte is sometimes called, has led the Dutch government since 2010, being the longest-serving prime minister in the country’s history.

“In recent days there has been speculation about what could motivate me. The only answer is: Netherlands – said the prime minister Mark Rutte during a debate in the lower house of parliament, Tweede cameras. He added that on Sunday he decided not to run for prime minister again and would step down as head of the VVD.

After his speech, the head of government told journalists that it was a difficult decision and his life choice. He stressed that there are many people in his party who can replace him. At the same time, he said that he would like to complete his mission as prime minister of the outgoing cabinet, to which he was appointed on Saturday by King Willem-Alexander.

Mark RuttePAP/EPA/REMKO DE WAAL

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“It’s not completely emotionless, but it’s also good to pass the baton,” Rutte added.

“Teflon Mark” the longest-serving prime minister

Mark Rutte has been ruling the Netherlands continuously since 2010, being the longest-serving office in the country’s history. Due to his ability to get out of political crises, he is sometimes called “Teflon Mark”.

In 2010-2012, his liberal People’s Party for Freedom and Democracy (VVD) co-ruled with the Christian Democrats of the CDA (Christian Democratic Appeal) with the support of the populist Party for Freedom (PVV) Geert Wilders, and then, after the early elections in 2012 with the Labor Party (PvdA), then led by Frans Timmermans.

Mark RuttePAP/EPA/Robin Utrecht

In 2017, the electoral pendulum swung to the right and the PvdA lost as many as 29 out of 38 seats. Rutte then built a coalition, the core of which was again the VVD and CDA, as well as a new party – the social liberal D66. The conservative Christian Democrat Christien Unie joined the coalition with five seats, giving the prime minister a majority.

In mid-January 2021, the government resigned as a result of the benefits scandal. A special parliamentary commission found “unprecedented violation of the rule of law”. However, after the elections held in March 2021, the parties of the then coalition obtained enough votes to renew the coalition. Due to disagreements between the two, government formation took the longest since World War II. Finally, the fourth government under the leadership of the VVD leader was appointed only in mid-December 2021. The formation of the cabinet took 274 days.

Early elections in the Netherlands

On Friday, Rutte announced that the differences in the coalition regarding the agreement on accepting refugees are so fundamental that it is not possible to continue governing in the current formula and resigned the cabinet. Early elections await the Netherlands in the fall.

Mark RuttePAP/EPA/ROBIN UTRECHT

Before Monday’s declaration, analysts estimated that the winner of the autumn elections could again be the liberal VVD. This time, the farmer BBB party, which won the last regional elections and has the largest faction in the Senate (Erste camera), was selected as a coalition partner.

The BBB recently supported VVD politician Jan Bruijn for the position of speaker of the upper house of parliament, which was commented on as a rapprochement between the parties. Party leader Caroline van der Plas, who recently did not exclude cooperation with the liberals, stressed that it was possible without Marek Rutte as head of government.

Main photo source: PAP/EPA/Robin Utrecht



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