The Dutch Prime Minister, Mark Rutte, is going to present the resignation of his Executive due to disagreements on immigration policy within the ruling coalition in the Netherlands. Despite three days of intense negotiations, the coalition government was unable to agree on how to limit the number of asylum seekers in the country.
Political storm in the Netherlands. The coalition government of Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte fell on Friday 7 July after stormy negotiations between the four ruling parties over refugee policy.
“The four parties have decided that they could not reach an agreement on immigration. So they have decided to end this government coalition,” Tim Kuijsten, spokesman for the small Protestant ChristenUnie party, announced late at night.
Nicknamed “Teflon Mark” for his ability to stay in power for twelve years despite scandals – thus becoming the longest-serving prime minister in the history of the Netherlands – Mark Rutte took the reins of his fourth coalition in January 2022 after a record 271 trading days.
But the head of government, from the liberal right-wing Popular Party for Freedom and Democracy, known as the VVD, had in recent days sown trouble among his centre-right partners by demanding that they adopt a series of divisive measures in relation to reception of asylum seekers.
A divisive project
Mark Rutte demanded that the other three parties in the ruling coalition – the CDA Christian Democrats, the Christian Democrat Call, the centrist liberals Democrats 66 (D66) and the small Protestant group ChristenUnie – agree to introduce a quota on the number of children from conflict zones who can be granted asylum in the Netherlands.
Refugees already settled in the European country will no longer be able to reunite with their children if a monthly quota of 200 children has already been reached, he also requested.
But two looser parties on immigration, ChristenUnie and D66, oppose this plan.
ChristenUnie, which has a large proportion of its voters in the “Bijbelgordel”, the “Bible Belt”, a conservative part of the country, is traditionally opposed to a tougher reception policy for asylum seekers due to their religious convictions.
“We have all been created and are loved by the same God, and also from him we have received the land on which we live. For this reason, we are convinced that it is our duty to offer a safe place to the victims of catastrophes, wars, persecutions and oppression,” ChristenUnie writes on her website.
Following initial negotiations on Wednesday, members of the government held another emergency meeting on Thursday night to discuss the Prime Minister’s proposals, but no agreement was reached, fueling speculation that the fourth government of Mark Rutte , commonly known in the Netherlands as “Rutte IV”, would soon fall.
Towards an early election
Since the start of his first term in 2010, Mark Rutte and his right-wing liberal party have faced competition and pressure from various far-right parties, notably Geert Wilders’ Freedom Party, which oppose fiercely to immigration.
With the coalition collapsing, Prime Minister Mark Rutte is expected to run again in the general election with the aim of seeking a fifth term as premier.
However, she could face competition within her party for the top spot.
Initially scheduled for 2025, these elections, which determine the composition of the lower house of the Dutch Parliament, should be called soon, with a possible date in the coming months.
The race for the seats of deputy looks tough for the outgoing government parties, while a new pro-agricultural formation opposed to the European Union’s environmental regulations won the most seats in the March regional elections, which also determine the composition of the Senate.
*With AFP; adapted from its original in French
Source: France 24