Prime Minister reacts to Justice leaders resignations

Rutte Hebdo
Prime Minister Mark Rutte speaking after a Cabinet meeting. Jan. 9, 2015 (photo: Rijksoverheid)Prime Minister Mark Rutte speaking after a Cabinet meeting. Jan. 9, 2015 (photo: Rijksoverheid)

"I can do nothing else but respect that decision," Prime Minister Mark Rutte (VVD) said of the sudden resignations of both Justice Minister Ivo Opstelten (VVD) and Justice Secretary Fred Teeven (VVD). The two prominent officials stepped down over discrepancy in details given to parliament about a controversial 4.7-million guilder (2.1-million euro) payout Teeven approved as a settlement to criminal suspect Cees H. when Teeven was prosecutor in 2001."They have concluded for themselves that their resignations were inevitable," the prime minister said in a statement. "The only thing that I can and want to add at this moment is that I say a big thanks for everything to both Ivo Opstelten and Fred Teeven for all they have done in recent years," he writes.

"The cabinet is losing two dedicated professionals."

It is just nine days before the Dutch provincial elections. The elections will determine the formation of the upper house of parliament, and popularity for the ruling VVD-PvdA right-left coalition is eroding. It is not clear how long the cabinet can stay in power if it is unable to cobble together support for legislation in both houses of parliament.