“I will continue as prime minister, working hard to regain confidence.” It is one of the phrases that Mark Rutte pronounced during a parliamentary session in which he was disapproved for not telling the truth on the negotiations that were being carried out for the formation of the new government. The still acting prime minister, who prevailed in the elections held a month ago and was preparing to chain his fourth term in the Netherlands, is no longer so clear that he can do so.
Mainly because all the parties except his – the Liberal for Freedom and Democracy (VVD) – lowered their thumbs in that session. So its 35 seats (out of 150) draw a slope toward government that has never been so steep for Rutte before. From unequivocally pactist trajectory Since he first came to power in 2010, this history professor, one of the EU’s longest-serving rulers, has reached agreements with Labor and the far-right, with conservative and left-wing formations in different terms (the last one with a melting pot up to six matches). But now he faces the mistrust of all.
The VVD would need at least three partners to add with some ease. To the liberals of the left (D66) led by Sigrid Kaag, the second formation with the most votes in the last elections; to the Christian Democrats. And to a third formation (that could come out of among social democrats or the Greens of Groen Links) once any possibility of a pact with the extreme right of Geert Wilders (PVV) has been ruled out (apparently). Liberals don’t give up on Rutte. They would neither change their leader nor accept another coalition figure to take power.
They trust that I can weather this storm too, who has positioned their charismatic leader as a liar. He suggested to the mediators in charge of forming a government a name (with portfolio allocation) in the first phase of the negotiations. He denied it (or forgot it, as he has defended), but some notes revealed by the press left him in evidence. From there, everything precipitated. Sigrid Kaag herself gave him a blunt ‘our paths part here’ in the reprobation session. And even Wopke Hoekstra, leader of the Christian Democrats and outgoing Minister of Economy – he was the image of the intransigence of the North with the countries of the South during the negotiations prior to the European recovery plan – spoke of “total disaster”. Both had been Rutte’s coalition partners and filed the motion of no confidence.
Already in the past Rutte faced the Chamber of The Hague for little transparent political actions that were building walls of mistrust. In November 2019, for example, it emerged that the government had concealed the country’s involvement in a 2015 airstrike in Iraq in which dozens of civilians were killed. And more recently, the issue of accusations of fraud against thousands of immigrant families.
By letter, 26,000 recipients of public aid were reproached for the inappropriate use of money, even demanding their reimbursement. The matter ended in the Supreme Court and overthrew the Rutte Executive. But the fact that he managed to win the elections that followed the debacle suggested that this statesman, with a high but stagnant popularity rating, was back on his feet. But the residue of that scandal and reproof Politics for lying can take a decisive toll on you.
A new mediator has been working for weeks to see what government options may exist. And the ‘Rutte’ piece will be complex to fit into a puzzle that, like everything else, is also surrounded by the pandemic. Nobody wants instability in this still critical phase in the country due to the hospital high pressureAlthough everything indicates that the prime minister will end one of the most controversial restrictions, the curfew, on the 28th. By then it will be known if the ‘Rutte-4’ cabinet is viable.
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