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The Netherlands government resigns |  GP

The Netherlands government resigns | GP

Late on Friday evening, Prime Minister Mark Rutte announced that he would submit his resignation and that of the government to King Willem-Alexander.

It’s no secret that coalition parties have very different views on immigration policy. Today, unfortunately, we have had to conclude that differences of opinion are insurmountable, said the Prime Minister.

Rutte, who leads the liberal right-wing VVD party, has tried to tighten immigration policy after scandals last year surrounding overcrowded migrant camps. However, he failed to convince the four coalition parties to reach an agreement, despite months of negotiations.

The immigration issue highlighted ideological differences within the coalition. The gap is between the parties that do not support a stricter immigration policy – the liberal left D66 and the Christian CU – and between the two parties that demand real austerity – Rutte’s VVD and the Christian Democrat CDA.

Among the proposals discussed were, among others, the introduction of temporary residence permits and the reduction of family emigration.

Last year, nearly 21,500 people applied for asylum in the Netherlands. The influx has added to the housing shortage, which is already significant in the densely populated country.

Rutte’s current government assumed power in January 2022 and is the fourth he has led since becoming prime minister in 2010.

Opposition parties quickly called for new elections. “Elections fast now,” Geert Wilders, leader of the anti-immigration party PVV, wrote on Twitter. Jesse Claver, leader of the environmental party Groen Links, tells NOS: The country needs to change direction.