ANPDemissionary Prime Minister Mark Rutte speaks to the press after announcing his departure from politics
NOS Nieuws•vandaag, 13:35
A big surprise, but a wise decision. That is the shared reaction of both opposition and coalition parties to the announced departure of outgoing Prime Minister Mark Rutte from political The Hague.
GroenLinks, PvdA and also the PVV had announced that they would submit a motion of no confidence against Rutte in today’s debate. That motion was dropped soon after Rutte’s announcement. GroenLinks leader Klaver: “I have a lot of respect for the step he is taking now and with that the confidence is back that he can lead this cabinet during the outgoing period.”
GroenLinks emphasizes that it is important to continue tackling the nitrogen problem in any case. PvdA party leader Kuiken wishes Rutte a lot of strength. “On to new air.”
Other opposition parties reacted on Twitter with satisfaction to the Prime Minister’s departure. Caroline van der Plas of BBB also speaks of a “very sensible decision”. “It’s good for the Netherlands,” says SP leader Lilian Marijnissen. Sylvana Simons of Bij1 also calls it “good news” and wants Rutte to leave immediately. Farid Azarkan of Denk talks about “the right decision at the wrong time”. Rutte should have resigned earlier, according to Azarkan, an opinion shared by the Forum for Democracy.
Rutte does not leave immediately
Rutte will remain caretaker prime minister until a new cabinet is formed. The king has asked him to continue handling the major files, such as the war in Ukraine and the handling of the Supplementary Affair and ‘Groningen’. In consultation with the House of Representatives, it will be determined which subjects will still be dealt with.
The Prime Minister’s departure is welcomed, but there is also praise at the opposition. For example, PVV leader Wilders is remarkably praising. “We were politically like water and fire, but I am convinced that he wanted the best for the Netherlands. I have a lot of respect for what he has done in all those years. He was a huge workhorse.”
Wilders also took the time to thank Rutte prior to the debate. A gesture that was received with drumming by many MPs afterwards:
Applause in the House of Representatives on Rutte’s departure after Wilders’ word of thanks
Kees van der Staaij of the SGP also responds with compliments: “He performed his duties with verve, even in difficult times. Criticism of his policy does not take away the great appreciation for his person and commitment to the public good,” says Van der Staaij on Twitter.
The cabinet fell on Friday evening about migration policy. After months of discussion about measures to limit the influx of asylum seekers, the four coalition parties concluded that they would not be able to reach an agreement together. Especially Rutte’s VVD and the smallest government party ChristenUnie were diametrically opposed to each other.
Ramp met MH17
Mirjam Bikker, leader of the ChristenUnie, now says she wants to express her “deep appreciation” for Rutte’s more than 12 years of prime ministership. “You think of key moments in which he really stood there as prime minister, such as the MH17 disaster, but also various crises in which he brought parties to the table.” Bikker also says he finds it “strong” to make a point.
D66 party chairman Jan Paternotte says he did not see Rutte’s departure coming. He says he understands. “When I look at what has happened in recent weeks, I think it was unavoidable, this step.”
Party chairman of the CDA Pieter Heerma also looks back on the failed migration debate in a response. “In recent weeks I have had a lot of criticism about his actions in failing to reach a migration agreement,” he says. Now respect for the time that Rutte has devoted “soul and bliss for his country” prevails. He also calls the no-confidence motion that the opposition had wanted to table “rash” and “a political reckoning”.
‘It moves me’
Heerma does say that he sees the need “for a new generation with new energy to provide political answers to the challenges of our time in a different way”. Heerma also announced today that it will stop after the elections. He no longer wants to be on the electoral list.
Sophie Hermans, leader of the VVD, heard from Rutte himself yesterday afternoon that he was leaving. She calls the decision “unreal” and says she regrets it. “I have worked extremely intensively with Mark for many years in various roles. So you know each other well and if someone says that they are leaving after so many years: I am human, that just touches me.”