Rutte’s withdrawal from political life comes after the resignation of the Coalition Government that he led due to discrepancies in immigration policy.
Outgoing Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte is leaving politics after 13 years at the helm of the government. Rutte, 56 years old, led by the Popular Party for Freedom and Democracy (VVD), a conservative liberal formation, has seen three of its governments dissolved and has survived various scandals.
His demands regarding the reunification of families of war refugees opened an insurmountable gap with his government partners.
“There has been speculation in recent days about my motivations. The only answer is: The Netherlands,” Rutte announced, noting that he made this decision on Sunday, despite the fact that on Friday he claimed “to have energy and ideas” still to lead a next cabinet.
The liberal politician, who led four governments since 2010 and three of them had to resign before the end of the legislatureannounced his withdrawal in a parliamentary speech prior to a debate on the reasons that led to the fall of the center-right coalition that has ruled the Netherlands since January 2022.
Speaking to the press after his speech, Rutte assured that “it is a good moment to pass the baton” and explained that he made this decision “with mixed feelings, with many emotions”, but admitted that he “feels good” to have done it. He further explained that the VVD leadership did not demand his withdrawal. He has been the leader of the Liberals for 17 years.