At Barely Had Time To Savor His Fourth Legislative Victory

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AT barely had time to savor his fourth legislative victory, on March 17, that Mark Rutte must fight not to be eliminated from the political scene… It is not certain that the outgoing Dutch Prime Minister will always be able to form the next coalition government. In the land of moral Protestantism, Rutte made a mistake: a little politician lie. What, in a Latin country, would pass like a letter in the mail becomes a serious sin in The Hague.

During the negotiations to form a coalition, the Prime Minister suggested neutralizing a restless CDA (Christian Democrat Appeal) deputy, the so-called Pieter Omtzigt, by offering him a “job elsewhere”, that is to say in him. leaving Parliament. Omtzigt passes, in fact, for a free, uncontrollable electron, extremely critical of Rutte’s policy. It was he who denounced the scandal of “family allowances” and forced the Rutte government to resign in front of the bronca two months before the last elections. In short, Rutte expressed the desire that we move away this turbulent representative of the people … Problem: his wishes were written down by one of the two negotiators appointed to lead the transpartisan negotiations. And the written note leaked to the press… The two negotiators, Kajsa Ollongren (from the D66 party) and Annemarie Jorritsma (from the VVD, Rutte’s party), resigned in the wake of the leaks.


Caught in this trap, Mark Rutte first denied, then admitted having mentioned the fate of Pieter Omtzigt, citing a memory problem that did not convince many people. Nevertheless, this acrobatics enabled him to overcome a motion of no confidence, rejected in extremis before the Dutch Parliament on the night of 1is to April 2. However, the episode did damage and the Prime Minister’s image of probity was tarnished. That said, no one discovers that Mark Rutte, in the Netherlands as on the European scene, is a killer in politics …

First consequence: the small party Christian Union, of Gert-Jan Segers, until now its ally, withdraws from a possible coalition if Rutte is the leader, considering “problematic” its way of treating the truth… So that Mark Rutte is forced to deploy new efforts to convince his partners that he is still the man for the job. It is therefore his people who are stepping up to praise the merits of the outgoing Prime Minister. The president of the VVD, Christianne van der Wal, and the head of the parliamentary group, Sophie Hermans, plead in his favor by recalling that he is “the man who has made the Netherlands go through several major crises in ten years”. Rutte himself performs a half-mea culpa, acknowledging that the political storm has not left him “indifferent”. “But I am ready to fight,” he continues.

Rutte half beats his ass

“Yes, mistakes have been made, but in this country, we generally forgive ourselves,” he pleaded before the deputies. I have led this country through an economic crisis, a refugee crisis and a pandemic. […] I have shown that I can handle complex problems. […] I think I have a reputation for being a reliable partner. ”

Next week will be decisive: new negotiators will be appointed to form a coalition government. One thing is certain: if Mark Rutte is still the leader of the coalition, his maneuver having made a “pschitt”, he will have the cumbersome Pieter Omtzigt for a few more years on his back.

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