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Rutte’s chances of forming new Dutch government fade as coalition partner leaves




AMSTERDAM (Reuters) – Dutch Prime Minister Mark Ruttes broke down on forming a new government on Saturday after a possible coalition partner seen as vital to securing a parliamentary majority ruled out joining a new administration led by ai.

File in file: Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte takes part in a debate on remarks he made during talks to form a new government after the March 17 national elections in The Hague, the Netherlands 1 April 2021. REUTERS / Piroschka van de Wouw

The decision further disrupted talks already stalled over the formation of a new government, turning discussions into weeks if not months and making it virtually impossible to predict the outcome.

Rutte, 54, narrowly survived a no-confidence vote Friday after parliament passed a motion not to approve his actions during government formation talks following last month’s election.

But ChristenUnie leader Gert Jan Segers, in an interview with the Nederlands Dagblad newspaper, said: “We do not want to go back to business as usual. We cannot be part of a fourth Rutte government.

ChristenUnie has been one of four parties in government led by the conservative Ruttes VVD party since 2017.

As all parties outside his coalition voted to remove him immediately on Friday, his current partners seemed the only viable opportunity for Rutte to form his fourth consecutive government – until Segers moved on Saturday blocking that road.

But Rutte said he would not give up his efforts. “I’m still ready to go to war,” he told reporters. I am convinced that we can always achieve a composition in this country.

The VVD said it had no intention of replacing him as party leader.


Parliament next week will appoint an independent official in charge of drafting ways to move the government-forming process back.

But the two parties seen as necessary for the VVD, the Christian Democrats and the pro-EU D66, filed the motion of disapproval on Friday and made it clear that it would be very difficult for Rutte to return to the negotiating table.

Rutte, who has been in office since 2010, was the winner in the national election two weeks ago, but still needs a coalition partner or partners to form a majority government.

Without the support of ChristenUnie, a fourth Rutte Cabinet would seem unimaginable, political scientist Tom Louwerse said on Twitter. The best-case scenario could be for Rutte not to get involved in forming a new government, but to stay as caretaker prime minister until he has a new administration.

It was unclear what a government without Rutte would look like, as given the election result his VVD party would be needed for any stable majority.

The VVD may still choose to nominate a candidate other than Rutte to lead a new administration, although new elections may be called if there is no solution.

Over a decade in power, Rutte navigated a range of political minefields, finding the middle ground in a rugged parliament. His treatment of the coronavirus pandemic was widely seen as the main reason for his election victory last month.

However, an opinion poll published after the no-confidence vote debate showed that his support among the general public had dropped to 25%, from 54% a week earlier.

Reporting by Bart Meijer Editing by Frances Kerry and David Holmes

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