September 22, 2023

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Rutte retires from politics after a record stint in charge of the Netherlands

Rutte retires from politics after a record stint in charge of the Netherlands

Outgoing Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte in The Hague on July 10, 2023 (Remko de Waal / ANP/AFP)

After nearly 13 years at the helm of the Netherlands, Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte announced Monday that he will retire from politics after snap elections scheduled for this fall.

The Liberal Right (VVD) leader, nicknamed “Teflon” for surviving various scandals that have rocked his four governments, announced his resignation amid internal disputes after early legislative elections marred by the collapse of his last coalition. Tightening of asylum policy.

“I feel good, but this is an important moment for me personally,” Rutte, the second longest-serving head of government in the EU after Hungary’s Viktor, told AFP. told Orban.

Mr Rutte, 56, who used to cycle to his official meetings, had led the Netherlands for nearly thirteen years, during which he nursed his image as “Mr World”.

He was also a European player who angered some southern countries with his hard line on public finances but won sympathy from other leaders for his support for Ukraine.

“high fit”

Mark Rutte vowed on Friday that he still had the “energy” to head his party’s list in the legislative elections, but first he had to “think about it”.

On Monday, he surprised by announcing his retirement from political life.

“Yesterday morning, I decided that I am not fit to be the leader of the list for VVT again. (…) After the election, I will leave politics,” said Mr. Rutte was stunned in front of the delegates.

His government collapsed on Friday after he proposed divisive measures to welcome asylum seekers, knowing that two of the four parties in his coalition government would reject them.

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Mr Rutte blasted his own government – in my opinion, not just mine – and Hans said early elections would go well for his liberal party, the VVD, and for himself. Boutellier, Professor Free University of Amsterdam (VU).

“I think – but it’s certainly a guess – that he was actually overcharged,” he added to AFP.

According to the Dutch Electoral Commission, Mr. Rutte will act as interim.

Who is after him?

Tributes have poured in from the Netherlands and abroad as the country wonders about his potential successor.

Belgian Prime Minister Alexandre de Groove tweeted: “Thanks for everything, Marc. The Netherlands won’t be the only one who misses you.”

Outgoing Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte in The Hague on July 10, 2023
Outgoing Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte in The Hague on July 10, 2023 (Remko de Waal / ANP/AFP)

“Your choices were not ours, but you made them with determination,” Geert Wilders, leader of the far-right PVV party, told parliament.

Foreign Minister Wopke Hoekstra said that one of the parties in the failed coalition, the Christian Democratic Party, would also step down as chairman of the CDA, Mr. He said he had “incredible respect” for Rutte.

Although no clear successor has yet emerged within the VVD, the post-Rutte era election campaign promises to be one of the hottest in decades after the recent emergence of the populist pro-farmer organization PPP. The party topped all the regional councils and the senate in regional elections held in March.

Its president Caroline van der Plas told AFP that Mr. He said he was “very surprised” by Rutte’s decision, although he thought it was “very smart”. He added that he was still not sure if he wanted to become prime minister, but that “the good news for the Netherlands is that a new policy will be drawn up”.

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Turkish-born Minister of Justice Dilan Yesilkos and Chairman of the VVD Parliamentary Committee, Mr. Rutte’s former aide, Sophie Hermans, said Mr. RTL television reported that Rutte is the favorite to succeed Rutte as leader of his party. Channel.