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Dutch PM Mark Rutte to Quit Politics After Government Collapse

Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte has said he will quit politics after his coalition government collapsed on Friday in a row over asylum policies.

After nearly 13 years in power, Mr Rutte is one of Europe’s longest-serving leaders.

He is now heading a caretaker administration until fresh elections can be held in November.

But he told parliament he would not run for a fifth term in office and would leave politics following the elections.

Dutch MPs will vote later on a no-confidence motion brought by the opposition in a bid to topple him.

The Netherlands has had a coalition government led by Mr Rutte and his conservative VVD party for the past year and a half, but the four parties involved have been split on migration for some time.

The VVD had been trying to limit the flow of asylum seekers, following a row last year about overcrowded migration centres. His plans were opposed by junior coalition partners.

“Once the new cabinet takes over after the elections, I will leave politics,” said Mr Rutte, adding that he had already informed party and parliamentary leaders.

“This is a personal decision and is independent of developments over the last few weeks,” he said.

The motion of no-confidence has been filed by two left-wing opposition parties and the far-right party of anti-Islam leader Geert Wilders.

But it needs the support of at least one of the parties in Mr Rutte’s collapsed coalition in order to pass.

Until the events of last Friday, Mr Rutte was seen as one of the wiliest survivors in European politics, even earning the nickname of “Teflon Mark”.

During his time as prime minister since 2010, he has become renowned for his ability to emerge from political scandals with his reputation intact.

Like many of his predecessors, he has a reputation for modest living, going to work and even the palace on his bike.

His unassuming nature is perhaps epitomised by an incident captured on camera in 2018, when he accidentally dropped his coffee on the way in to parliament, then cleaned up the mess himself with a bucket and mop.

After addressing parliament, Mr Rutte told Dutch media that he had “mixed feelings” about leaving politics.

“This is not entirely without emotion,” he said. “But it also feels good to pass the baton.”

Source: British Broadcasting Corporation



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