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Dutch Government Collapses over Migration Row

Coalition Government Collapse

  • Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte’s coalition government collapses due to “insurmountable” differences on handling migration.
  • After days of crisis talks, the four-party coalition fails to reach a deal.
  • Rutte, the Netherlands’ longest-serving leader, announces the collapse at a press conference and presents his written resignation to the king.

Migration Policy Dispute

  • Disagreements arise over Rutte’s proposal to tighten restrictions on reuniting families of asylum seekers, aiming to reduce numbers after a scandal involving overcrowded migration centers.
  • The coalition partners, including Rutte’s center-right VVD party, hold vastly different views on migration policy.

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Government Divisions and Previous Negotiations

  • The coalition government, Rutte’s fourth since taking office in 2010, had only been in power since January 2022 after prolonged negotiations lasting 271 days.
  • Deep divisions on various issues already plagued the coalition, further contributing to the collapse.

Rutte’s Resignation and Next Steps

  • Rutte submits his resignation and plans to lead a caretaker government until elections, expected to take place in mid-November.
  • During the interim period, the caretaker government will focus on tasks such as supporting Ukraine.

Party Responses and Bitter Recriminations

  • The sudden collapse triggers bitter recriminations between the coalition parties, including ChristenUnie, D66, and the centre-right Christian Democratic Appeal (CDA).
  • Rutte’s plan to cap the number of relatives of war refugees allowed into the Netherlands at 200 per month receives opposition.

Election Campaign Implications

  • The Netherlands faces an upcoming election campaign characterized by stormy and divisive debates.
  • The BBB party, led by farmers opposing EU-backed environmental rules, aims to replicate its success in recent senate elections.
  • BBB leader Caroline van der Plas refuses to join a coalition with Rutte and doesn’t rule out running for the prime minister’s position if her party wins the most seats.

Concerns and Reactions

  • The collapse of the government is deemed “very disappointing” and “regrettable” by Finance Minister Sigrid Kaag (D66) and Foreign Minister Wopke Hoekstra (CDA).
  • The country anticipates a turbulent and contentious political landscape leading up to the general election.

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