If he completes his fourth government experience, Mark Rutte, 54, will break all longevity records in the Netherlands having been Prime Minister from 2010 to 2025. Will he succeed? To the doubts of many observers in The Hague, the liberal leader opposes his usual recklessness: Monday, January 3, he spoke of a “New impetus” and said to himself “Optimistic” as to the success of its new coalition. Even if this one is, in fact, only the hardly renewed version of the previous one.
To overcome the ambient skepticism, Mr. Rutte will govern with a largely reworked team of twenty ministers and nine secretaries of state which, according to tradition, he receives one by one since Monday, before the presentation of the government to King Willem-Alexander and his official induction on January 10.
Relative loss of influence
First characteristics of “Rutte IV”: half of the ministers will be women and, in total, the team will be almost equal in terms of gender, with 52% men and 48% women. In addition, two important portfolios will be entrusted to personalities from immigration: that of justice to the liberal Dilan Yesilgöz, born in Ankara, and that of the protection of rights to Franc Weerwind, member of the social-liberal party D66, from a family in Surinam.
Presented in mid-December, after nine months of discussions, the coalition’s program reflects Mr. Rutte’s relative loss of influence, even though he once again led his party to victory in March. 2021. Destabilized by the so-called “allowances” affair, which had penalized thousands of families unfairly suspected of fraud in family benefits, the head of government had, this time, to adopt a more social discourse and accept the demands of its partners, including Sigrid Kaag, leader of D66 and former Minister of Foreign Affairs.
This 60-year-old former diplomat will be the “Moral guide” of this new team, judge the daily The Parool. She could have claimed the succession of Mark Rutte but the management, by her department, of the evacuation of the Dutch and their personnel from Afghanistan aroused such criticism that she was forced to resign last September at following the vote on a motion of no confidence by the Second Chamber.
Deputy Prime Minister and now Minister of Finance, this supporter of a “Strong Europe”, whose party is a member of the Renew group in the Strasbourg Parliament, ensured that the Netherlands, hitherto supporters of strict budgetary orthodoxy, now speak of a necessary « modernisation » rules of the European Stability Pact. What delight the French presidency of the Union which will note that D66 also made sure that Mr. Rutte admits the principle of a carbon tax at the borders or the idea that trade and the climate are not irreconcilable.
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In the Netherlands, the new government of Mark Rutte emphasizes the social