Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte overcame, on the night of Thursday to Friday, a motion of no confidence in Parliament, tabled by the opposition which accused him of having lied during negotiations to form his coalition.
“I remain prime minister. I will work hard to regain confidence, ”Mark Rutte, whose liberal VVD party won a majority in parliamentary elections last month, told media.
He received the support of the two main parties that were part of his previous coalition, the D66 (center left) and the CDA (center right), while all opposition parties voted against him.
The alarm bell sounded by Pieter Omtzigt
This episode represents one of the most important political fights in the long career of Mark Rutte, in power since 2010. Nicknamed the “Prime Minister in Teflon” for his ability to escape scandals, Mark Rutte and his liberal party, the VVD, won the majority of seats in parliamentary elections last month thanks to its handling of the coronavirus pandemic. But Mark Rutte was accused of secretly discussing how to appease a very critical member of another party during negotiations to form a governing coalition.
On the subject:
MEP Pieter Omtzigt, a Christian Democrat, had sounded the alarm bells in a scandal in which thousands of parents were wrongly accused of child benefit fraud. The affair had prompted the resignation of Mark Rutte, who since manages the current affairs. “I did not lie”, assured Mark Rutte before Parliament before the motion of no confidence. “I have never cheated on a colleague. What would be the reason? ”
Rutte conjures up mistaken memories
Last week, a photographer took an image of the notes of a coalition negotiator leaving parliament. The name of the deputy Omtzigt appeared there with the mention “post elsewhere”, which many interpret as the idea of giving him a ministry to keep him quiet.
Mark Rutte then told the press that he had not discussed the subject. But on Thursday, he said he was “mistaken in (his) memories” when documents from the negotiations showed he had discussed appointing Minister Pieter Omtzigt. He added “deeply regret” this episode.
Dutch media believed the country would find itself “in uncharted territory” if Mark Rutte lost the vote of confidence, as his fate as prime minister and leader of the new coalition talks was unclear. Forming a coalition is a process that can take months in the Netherlands.