In office since 2010 and with the possibility of running for a fifth term, Mark Rutte decided to step aside and in the next few hours he will hand in his resignation to King Willem-Alexander.
Mark Rutte, Prime Minister of the Netherlands since 2010, announced this Friday that he will present his resignation King Guillermo Alejandro in the next few hours for “insurmountable” discrepancies on the strategy to contain the flow of refugees entering the country.
“Tonight, unfortunately, we came to the conclusion that the discrepancies were insurmountable. For this reason, I will soon present my resignation to the King on behalf of the entire government,” Rutte told a press conference.
In addition, the 56-year-old official assured that he still had “energy” to run for a fifth term, but that he had to “reflect” on it first.
Rutte, the longest-serving head of government in the history of the Netherlandsargued that “the government did not reach an agreement on the measures to be adopted to contain the influx of asylum seekers.”
The leader of the center-right People’s Party for Freedom and Democracy (VVD) wanted the other three parties in the government coalition to establish a quota system to limit the number of children from conflict zones eligible for asylum in Netherlands.
His proposal was to restrict the number of reunifications of children with their refugee relatives, already established in the Netherlands, to 200 per month, and he threatened to dissolve the cabinet if his allies did not prove, Dutch media reported.
But the conservative Christian Uni party, which brought Rutte the support of the Protestant electorate in the center of the country, radically opposed that plan. The D66 formation, from the center-left, did not support the initiative either.
Those three parties, along with the centre-right CDA, held negotiations late into the night on Thursday, without reaching a compromise.
Rutte thus ends his fourth term since his first entry into office, in October 2010.
This latest term began in January 2022, with a coalition that took nine months to form after the March 2021 elections. The end of his third term was triggered by a scandal involving family allowances.
According to the local media, Rutte, nicknamed “Teflon” for his cacity for political survival, seeks with the current dissolution of his cabinet to save energy to fight a battle with a wing of his party that defends a tougher line on immigration policy and refugee reception.
The elections to the lower house of the Dutch Parliament, due to be held later this year, will take place in a polarized and divided political landsce: there are 20 parties in the 150-seat lower house.
Similar debates are taking place elsewhere in Europe, as migrants fleeing conflict or seeking a better life make perilous sea journeys from North Africa to reach the continent. Hundreds of thousands of people have also fled the war in Ukraine.
Migration will be a major issue in next year’s European Union parliamentary elections, but the issue hit early in the Netherlands.
Rutte’s coalition tried for months to reach an agreement to reduce the flow of new migrants to this country of nearly 18 million people. The proposals reportedly included creating two classes of asylum – a temporary one for those fleeing conflict and a permanent one for those trying to esce persecution – and reducing the number of family members who can join asylum seekers in the Netherlands.
With information from agencies