West News Wire: After the four-party government coalition he led in the Netherlands failed to agree on a migration policy, Prime Minister Mark Rutte offered his resignation to King Willem-Alexander on Friday. Up until a new general election, a caretaker ministry will be in charge.
In The Hague on Friday night, Rutte told reporters, “Migration is a huge political and societal issue. We have determined as a group that the coalition’s political backing has evaporated since we were unable to reach consensus on this.
“Very different views on migration policy,” he continued, were held by the four coalition members. And today, regrettably, we are forced to come to the conclusion that these differences cannot be reconciled.
King Willem-Alexander has been notified of the government’s resignation. Rutte will stay on as the caretaker PM until a new general election, which will probably take place in November.
The main bone of contention at Friday’s coalition meeting was the proposal to limit the number of refugees and asylum seekers in the country of 18 million, which is already facing a housing shortage. Rutte’s People’s Party for Freedom and Democracy (VVD) and the Christian Democrats wanted to limit the number of relatives who could follow asylum seekers already in the country at 200 per year, and create a separate category for war refugees and those fleeing political persecution. The other two partners, D66 and the Christian Union, opposed “breaking up families.”
The government anticipates that the Netherlands will receive up to 70,000 asylum applications this year, which would surpass the previous record of 46,000 applications received in 2015. Additionally, the nation has accepted roughly 95,000 Ukrainians under “temporary protection” through March 2025.
Since October 2010, Rutte has served as prime minister as a member of four different governing coalitions. The most recent was created in January 2022 following the most protracted political debates in Dutch history. In the 150-member parliament, the four-party coalition only managed to win 77 members.
After Rutte’s declaration, Geert Wilders, the Freedom Party’s leader, tweeted, “Quick elections now.” Asserting that the nation “needs a new parliament,” Green Left leader Jesse Klaver told the national broadcaster NOS.