The Prime Minister of the Netherlands, Mark Rutte, squeezed into the parliament last night. Members of Parliament voted for his confidence in a proposal put forward by the opposition, who accused him of participating in negotiations to form a coalition government.
“I am still the prime minister. I will try to restore confidence,” Rutte’s free VVD party won a majority in the March parliamentary elections.
He was supported by the two largest parties D66 (center left) and CDA (center right) that participated in the last coalition, and all opposition parties voted against him. This episode is one of the biggest political struggles in his career.
Rutte is known as the “Prime Minister of Teflon” for his ability to get rid of all scandals without consequences. His VVD party benefited from his management of the coronavirus pandemic and won a majority of seats in the general election last month. But Root was accused of secretly discussing how to appease a very important member of the opposing party during the negotiations to form a coalition government.
Christian Democrat MP Pieter Omtzigt sounded the alarm in an incident in which thousands of parents were falsely accused of defrauding their children’s allowances. Rutte resigned and led a technical government until the general election.
“I didn’t lie. I never deceived a colleague. Why should I do that?” Root pointed out in Parliament before the vote of no confidence.
Last week, a photographer took the notes of a joint negotiator as he left the parliament building. Congressman Omzigett’s name appeared next to them with the words “second place”, and many people interpreted it as a proposal for him to hold a ministerial position in order to remain silent.
Root then told reporters that he did not discuss this. But he said yesterday that when the negotiating documents showed that he was discussing the appointment of Omzigett as minister, his memory deceived him. He added that he regrets this.
Dutch media estimates that if Rutte does not win the trust of MPs, the country will once again be in an “unknown area” because it is not yet clear about his fate as prime minister and leader of the negotiations for the new alliance. It may take several months to form an alliance in the Netherlands.