Dutch PM Rutte has "mixed feelings" about leaving politics
Outgoing Prime Minister Mark Rutte has “mixed feelings” about his decision to leave politics once a new Cabinet is installed. “This is not entirely without emotion,” he told the press after his announcement at the start of a parliamentary debate on the collapse of the Rutte IV Cabinet. “But it also feels good to pass the baton.”
Rutte announced that he would not seek re-election after the fall of his fourth Cabinet, which collapsed on Friday over irreconcilable differences on the asylum policy. Rutte denied rumors that he was seeking a Cabinet collapse because the VVD is currently doing relatively well in the polls. “That’s just not true,” he told NOS.
Rutte said he does not yet know what he will do once his time as outgoing Prime Minister comes to an end. He currently teaches social studies once a week at the Johan de Witt College in The Hage. “Maybe I’ll do that for a few days.”
He stressed that he is not interested in a top job, like at NATO, for which he has been mentioned in the past.
Asked what will stick with him most about his nearly 13 years as Prime Minister of the Netherlands, Rutte said, “MH17.” The Malaysian Airlines flight was downed over eastern Ukraine in 2014, killing all 298 people on board, including some 193 Dutch. “That was so big,” Rutte said.
After speaking to the Press, Rutte entered the VVD faction room in the Tweede Kamer building. The MPs from his party received him with applause, according to NOS.
Rutte isn’t leaving immediately. He will remain the outgoing Prime Minister of the caretaker Cabinet until a new Cabinet is formed. According to NOS, the King asked him to keep working on the major files, including the war in Ukraine, the childcare allowance scandal, and gas extraction in Groningen.
The Tweede Kamer, the lower house of the Dutch parliament, and the caretaker Cabinet will decide together which topics to continue handling and which to leave to the new Cabinet.
The new parliamentary elections will likely happen in the fall. The electoral council said it could arrange them from mid-November at the earliest.