Mark rutte

Wilders loses ground as Rutte wins again in the Dutch election

Despite a childcare benefits scandal that led to the resignation of the government en masse, much-criticised delays in its vaccination programme and national riots over a coronavirus curfew, the status quo will remain largely intact after a general election in the Netherlands. With nearly nine in ten votes counted, it looks almost certain that ‘caretaker’ prime minister Mark Rutte will be building a new coalition government and leading the country for a fourth time. His People’s Party for Freedom and Democracy (VVD) is expected to win another two seats, taking his total to 35 out of the 150 places in the lower house. Other big winners of the election are the

The scandal that collapsed the Dutch government

The Netherlands has a reputation as one of the sensible, efficient countries of Europe. Asked to predict which government was most likely to collapse in the face of a national scandal, many EU watchers would not have bet on Mark Rutte’s government. But while the political fallout has been extraordinary — Rutte cycled to the palace earlier today to tender his entire cabinet’s resignation to the king — the scandal that preceded it has a curiously Dutch feel. Their failure? Mismanagement of the country’s complex child benefit system. Thousands of parents have been driven to financial ruin. A parliamentary committee looking into the tax office fiasco last month labelled it an ‘unprecedented