Rutte: No plans yet to stop serving as prime minister; “I’m halfway there”
Although Mark Rutte will soon break the record t become the longest serving Prime Minister of the Netherlands this summer, he is not yet considering calling it quits. "I do feel I'm halfway there," he joked during his regular weekly press conference.
He said questions about his future as VVD party leader and the leader of the country should only become an issue when elections are about six months away. The next election which will determine the composition of the Cabinet and the Tweede Kamer will take place in 2025, unless the current Cabinet resigns before that time.
"The decisive factor for me is: Do I have the ideas, the energy?” He emphasized the importance of being ready to get down to business at the start of his weekly meeting with ministers on Friday morning so he can say, “Let's get to work, solve problems!" Rutte said, "As long as I have that, I'd like to continue."
He called the premiership of the Netherlands "the most wonderful job in the world. An incredible honour,” and remarked, "I must say that the number of puzzles on my desk now is quite large." He cited the invasion of Ukraine as an example, which in turn has consequences for the economy, purchasing power and energy supply in the Netherlands. He said he can accept that people in the media occasionally wonder aloud whether he is past his expiration date as the country's leader. "I've learned to live with that question being asked every now and then."
It seems likely that Rutte will match Ruud Lubbers’ record as longest-serving prime minister on August 1. He will not be in the Netherlands on that date, and said he will not hold a celebration. In any case, he did not want to attach too much importance to the historical significance of the record. He referred to the record as a “footnote” that only shows someone was successful as a seat filler.
Reporting by ANP