The Prime Minister of the Netherlands resigns after the fall of his Government and calls elections
The fine thread from which the Government of the Netherlands had been hanging for months broke definitively this Friday as a result of internal differences over immigration policy.
The prime minister, the liberal Mark Rutte, presented this Friday night the resignation of his government team to King William and announced the calling of early elections, probably in November, after the failed attempt by his party to impose new limits on the family reunification policies for war refugees to try to ease the pressure on the reception system. "We have tried, but we have had to verify that our differences were irreconcilable," Rutte admitted this Friday night at a press conference. "It's disappointing, but at the same time an undeniable political reality." His government, however, had been touched to death since March, when the Movimiento Campesino Ciudadano (BBB) party, which has channeled the discontent of the countryside with the environmental policy of The Hague and Brussels, became the big winner in the provincial elections. .
"We are all creatures of God, our duty is to welcome the victims of wars", argues the Christian Union
Although announced, the collapse of the Government has precipitated in three days, which have lasted its last debates on immigration policy. While the conservatives (CDA) accepted the measure proposed by the liberals (VLD), the government's most progressive partners (D-66) opposed it, as did the family-oriented Protestant Christian Union party.
The fall of the Government could imply the departure of the first line of Rutte's politics, known as the Teflon leader for his ability to emerge unscathed from all crises, who this time could have competition within his own party if he runs as candidate. This was the fourth coalition he had led as prime minister since 2010 and it has turned out to be the most miserable of all. The elections were held in March 2021 and the parties took nine months to close a government agreement. Attempts to comply, after several extensions, with European norms on nitrogen emissions by closing farms led to strong opposition in the countryside and aggravated political polarization, since for left-wing parties the measures cannot be postponed any longer.
The victory of the agricultural protest party (BBB) in the provincial elections seriously weakened the government
Aside from the environment, immigration quickly emerged as one of the most divisive issues. After the pandemic, admission applications have exceeded the availability of reception places. Hundreds of asylum seekers had to sleep outdoors due to lack of means, which led the Government to consider different options to reduce the migratory pressure on the country (18 million inhabitants).
Last year, the Netherlands registered 46,000 asylum applications, 30% more than the previous year. The forecast for this year is to reach 70,000, the same record number as in 2015. The pressure to agree on a solution before the summer increased day by day. On Monday, unexpectedly, Rutte gave his partners until Friday to reach an agreement. The idea of creating a system with two categories of asylum seekers, accompanied by a quota of 200 people a month who could request family reunification (children, mostly), was not convincing, but this Friday afternoon it still seemed that it would be possible to reach an agreement and save the coalition.
"Everyone wants to find a good and effective solution that takes into account that human lives are involved," Finance Minister Sigrid Kaag (D66) commented in the middle of the afternoon. It was not convenient for any of the government parties to go to the polls now, but the differences turned out to be insurmountable and, at eight in the evening, the talks collapsed. “We were all created and are loved by the same God, who gave us the earth on which we live. That is why we believe it is our duty to provide a safe place for victims of disasters, wars, persecutions and oppression," the Christian Union wrote on its website.
Rutte convened an extraordinary Council of Ministers this Friday night and informed the king of his decisions. Although it was not planned to return to the polls until 2025, the opposition parties demand the calling of early elections as soon as possible. According to the calendars managed by the Electoral Council, it will not be possible to hold them until autumn, probably until mid-November.
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