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The elections to determine the Members of Parliament who will represent the Netherlands in the Tweede Kamer will be held on Wednesday, November 22, sources in national politics confirmed on Friday morning. The parties elected will then engage in back-and-forth negotiations to cobble together a coalition that will determine the next Cabinet and prime minister.
The outgoing Cabinet will announce the decision on Friday, sources said. The elections are necessary due to the fall of the Cabinet last week, when the coalition led by Prime Minister Mark Rutte could not reach an agreement on a package of migration and asylum measures.
Rutte has been serving as prime minister for about 13 years, leading four different Cabinets. His last held office for the shortest period of time, similar in length to his first, and was marked by rocky relations. A tumultuous six months of in-fighting led to the collapse, with fights over issues including compensation for victims of earthquakes caused by gas extraction, the slowness in compensating victims profiled by the tax office in the childcare benefits scandal, an emerging scandal over profiling of students receiving subsidies, and constant clashes over asylum and immigration issues.
The fall of the Cabinet is causing damage, acknowledged Rutte, mainly because of the ongoing political issues that are being delayed. But “we can limit that damage together,” the caretaker prime minister said on Friday. He spoke briefly with reporters before the first meeting of the caretaker Cabinet since he offered his fourth Cabinet’s resignation to the king.
“Then you must all work wisely, so that you can allow the important things to continue.” Rutte invariably mentioned the handling of the childcare benefits scandal, Groningen, the war in Ukraine and the 2014 downing of flight MH17, “but also the budget, for example.”
The Cabinet can also take a good look at “what you can still do” on other issues. For example in education, safety, nitrogen emissions and the climate crisis. “And that also depends a bit” on the current Members of Parliament emphasized Rutte.
“So I’m not hopeless about it.”
Reporting by ANP and NL Times