Dutch Government Falls to Anti-Immigration, Pro-Farm Protestors

Dutch Government Falls to Anti-Immigration, Pro-Farm Protestors
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Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte announced his resignation Friday because of a dispute in his ruling coalition about how to rein in migration.

The Netherlanders are a rather dramatic sort, organizing their system of governance on coalitions of various shades that agree to high-minded pleasantries as a way to remain above the fray of pesky conflict.  Alas, once a moment of core and consequential disagreement reaches an impasse, the entire Dutch government is said to “collapse.”

The Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte traveled to Tunisa earlier this year, together with EU leaders, pledging €1 billion in assistance if the North African gatekeepers could just stop the flow.  The effort didn’t work, and his small country of 18 million, already dealing with major internal conflict driven by farmers and climate change, could not cope with the toxic political challenge of increased unlawful migration.

Associated Press – The ruling Dutch coalition collapsed Friday after tense talks among the four parties in Prime Minister Mark Rutte’s ruling bloc failed to broker a deal over ways to rein in migration, a senior politician said. 

Henk Kamp, a senior member of Rutte’s People’s Party for Freedom and Democracy told Dutch television: “It is a great shame that the government has now fallen.” The failure of months of talks on the thorny issue could now force a general election. 

Rutte’s Cabinet gathered late Friday in a hastily scheduled meeting. “We talked for a long time, we are coming here tonight because we did not succeed,” Defense Minister Kajsa Ollongren told reporters as she walked into the Cabinet meeting.

Meanwhile, opposition lawmakers wasted no time in calling for fresh elections. 

Geert Wilders, leader of the anti-immigration Party for Freedom, tweeted, “Quick elections now.” Jesse Klaver, leader of the Green Left party also called for elections and told Dutch broadcaster NOS: “This country needs a change of direction.”

Rutte, the Netherlands’ longest serving premier, presided over late-night meetings Wednesday and Thursday that failed to result in a deal. More talks were held Friday evening, and he declined to answer questions about the issue at his weekly press conference before the discussions.

[…] There will likely be an election for the 150-seat lower house of the Dutch parliament later this year amid a polarized and splintered political landscape. Rutte’s Cabinet would likely remain in office as a caretaker administration until a new government was formed.

During provincial elections earlier this year, a populist pro-farmer party put Rutte’s party into second place. The defeat was seen as a possible incentive for Rutte to do his utmost to hold together his coalition until its term ends in 2025. 

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